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Acta Agriculture Scandinavica Section B-Soil & Plant Science
Year: 2011  |  Volume: 61  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 583 - 592

Associations between soil texture, soil water characteristics and earthworm populations in grassland

Martin Holmstrup, Mathieu Lamande, Soren B. Torp, Mogens H. Greve, Rodrigo Labouriau and Goswin Heckrath    

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationships between soil physical characteristics and earthworms in a regional-scale field study in Denmark. The earthworm populations along within-field gradients in soil texture were quantified at five field sites, representing dominant soil types of Denmark. Eleven earthworm species were found, but populations were mainly dominated by Aporrectodea tuberculata and A. longa. Despite considerable variation in soil parameters across the five study sites the results suggest that the biomass of anecic worms (or A. longa as a species) was not causally associated with the soil parameters studied. This indicates that there must be other causal factors associated with the abundance (and composition) of anecic worms that are not among the soil texture and structure parameters studied. On the other hand, soil texture (Coarse sand) was associated with the abundance of the dominant endogeic species, A. tuberculata, but not endogeic worms in general. It was hypothesized that anecic and endogeic earthworms might respond to local soil water characteristics rather than soil texture, but this hypothesis could not be confirmed with the present data.

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