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  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Allolobophora molleri ; Earthworms ; Physicochemical factors ; Gut content ; Mutualistic digestion ; Respiration
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary Some physicochemical and biological measurements were carried out on the gut content and casts of Allolobophora molleri, an earthworm which lives in humid soils of Northern Spain. In the anterior part of the gut, water (22% of moist weight of soil) and soluble organic matter (27.4%) had been added to the ingested soil and pH had increased from 5.75 to 7.0. The amount of water-soluble compounds decreased sharply in the middle and posterior parts of the gut and were hardly detectable in control soil or casts. The average O2 consumption, measured at 28° and 21°C, indicated respectively 2.75-to 12-fold increases in microbial respiration in the gut content compared to the non-ingested soil. These results extend the hypothesis of a mutualistic digestion in earthworms previously proposed for tropical endogeic species.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Key words Microarthropods ; Earthworms ; Spatial distribution ; Collembola ; Biodiversity
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract In a study of a 15-year-old pasture in Martinique (French West Indies), abundance and organization of microarthropod communities were correlated with the spatial distribution of the earthworm Polypheretima elongata (Megascolecidae). In patches of high earthworm density (133 individuals m–2), microarthropod density was significantly higher (80000 individuals m–2) than in patches with few earthworms (31 worms m–2 and 49000 microarthropods m– 2). The diversity of microarthropod communities followed a similar pattern, the Shannon index for Collembola communities being, respectively, 3.12 and 1.82 in and outside earthworm patches. These results suggest that mesofauna abundance and diversity might be at least partly determined by the activity of larger invertebrates, as a result of the dramatic effects that the latter group exerts upon soil structure, pore distribution and food resources.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Key words Abundance ; Biomass ; Diversity ; Earthworm community ; Tropical savannas
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract  The structure and seasonal changes of earthworm communities were evaluated in a natural savanna and in a improved grass-legume pasture in a Colombian oxisol over a period of 18 months. One plot of 90×90 m was isolated in each of the systems and each month five samples of 1 m2×0.5 m and ten of 20×20×20 cm were randomly selected from a stratified block design. Species richness was similar in the two evaluated plots (seven species), whereas diversity measured by the index, H (Shannon and Weaver 1949) was clearly different, i.e. H=2.89 in natural savanna and H=1.29 in pasture. This is explained by differences in earthworm community structure. The average annual density in the savanna was 49.8, ranging from 10.8 to 135.8 individuals (ind) m–2, and biomass was 3.3 g m–2 (hand-sorting method), ranging from 0.9 to 11.5 g m–2. In the man-made pasture, density was 80.1 ind m–2 on average, ranging from 24 to 215.8 ind m–2 and biomass was more than tenfold higher, ranging from 29.2 to 110.4 g m–2. This was especially due to the presence of a large glossoscolecid anecic species, Martiodrilus carimaguensis Jiménez and Moreno, which has been greatly favoured by conversion of savanna to pasture. Endogeic species were dominant in the natural savanna whereas the anecic species accounted for 88% of total earthworm biomass in the pasture. Total earthworm density and biomass were significantly different in the two systems studied (t-test). The results indicate a clearly positive response of earthworm communities to improved pastures, a type of land use that is being increasingly adopted in moist neotropical savannas.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Tropical-earthworms ; Adaptive-strategies ; Demography ; Peregrine-species ; Pontoscolex corethrurus ; Parthenogenesis
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary Pontoscolex corethrurus is a medium-sized geophagous earthworm species which has invaded most cultivated land in the humid tropics. It is generally found in gardens, cropland and fallowland, where it has been introduced accidentally by man. The species has quite narrow microclimatic requirements. Reproduction only occurs at 23°–27°C, and the worms are fully active only where soil moisture is well above field capacity (pF 2.5). This limitation is balanced by the ability to live in a great Variety of soils differing in pH, organic matter content and texture. The demographic profile is typically of the r type, which gives populations a colonization capacity greater than that of comparable native species. This can be explained by the limited size of individuals and the great efficiency of their mutualist digestion system, in association with the free soil microflora. As a result, growth is fast and a great amount of energy may be invested in reproduction, which is made even more efficient by parthenogenesis.
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  • 5
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Biology and fertility of soils 6 (1988), S. 237-251 
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Earthworm communities ; Soil structure ; Nutrient cycling ; Soil organic matter ; Microbial activity
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary Earthworms find in soil the energy, nutrient resources, water and buffered climatic conditions that they need. According to the food resource they exploit and the general environmental conditions, earthworms can be grouped into different functional categories which differ essentially in morphology, size, pigmentation, distribution in the soil profile, ability to dig galleries and produce surface casts, demographic profiles and relationships with the soil microflora. Soil characteristics are both the determinant and the consequence of earthworm activities, since these animals greatly influence the functioning of the soil system. When present, they build and maintain the soil structure and take an active part in energy and nutrient cycling through the selective activation of both mineralization and humification processes. By their physical activities and resultant chemical effects, earthworms promote short and rapid cycles of nutrients and assimilable carbohydrates. Thus earthworms represent a key component in the biological strategies of nutrient cycling in soils and the structure of their communities gives a clear indication of the type of soil system that they inhabit.
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  • 6
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Science Ltd
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: The dynamics and function of humus forms in tropical forests are still poorly understood. Humus profiles in two secondary semi-evergreen woodlands in Guadeloupe (French West Indies) were analysed micromorphologically. The humus forms are described under the canopy of five dominant tree species at two sites: under Pisonia subcordata and Bursera simaruba in a secondary forest on a Leptosol (Rendzina), and under Swietenia macrophylla, Tabebuia heterophylla and B. simaruba in a plantation on a calcareous Vertisol.In the secondary forest, two distinct humus forms were observed. A calcareous Amphimull, characterized by an OH horizon comprising the faecal pellets of millipedes, is formed under the canopy of P. subcordata, which produces a litter that is rich in nitrogen. A Dysmull with a thick root mat (OFRh horizon) develops under the canopy of B. simaruba, which produces a litter rich in lignin and phenol that is consumed slowly by the soil fauna. In the plantation on the Vertisol, the activity of the endoanecic earthworm Polypheretima elongata has led to the rapid disappearance of litter and the mixing of organic and mineral material. The humus form is a Eumull and is similar under all three tree species present.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Earthworms ; Soil structure ; Soil aggregation ; Atrican savannas ; Millsonia anomala ; Panicum maximum
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary The present study assessed the effect of the tropical geophagous earthworm, Millsonia anomala, on the aggregate-size distribution of a sieved (2 mm), tropical ferruginous soil in the presence and absence of the perennial tropical grass Panicum maximum. The effect of two size groupings and graded biomass densities of M. anomala on soil aggregation was analysed in time and with depth in the containers within which the plants were grown. In the absence of earthworms, aggregation was rapid although limited (13.5% of soil as aggregates 〉2.0 mm), and probably arose from a combination of microbial activity and physical processes (interparticle bonding due to clays and other colloids). The roots of the test species contributed little to aggregation. In contrast, the effect of earthworm activity on soil aggregation was rapid and important. The effects of both biomass and, to a lesser extent, size were significant. After 79 days, aggregation reached a maximum with 3 g per container of small earthworms (ca. 59% of soil as aggregates 〉2.0 mm) and a minimum with 1 g per container of large earthworms (ca. 35% of aggregates 〉2.0 mm). Aggregation was considered to occur through three different mechanisms: (1) A rapid aggregation due to the interactions of colloids; (2) an intermediate aggregation due to a combination of unquantified processes related to earthworm activity (mucus secretion, development of fungus hyphae); (3) egestion of soil as earthworm casts which are stable macroaggregates.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Earthworm ; Pontoscolex corethrurus ; Nitrogen mineralization ; Microbial biomass ; Casts ; Ultisol
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary Mineral N concentrations ranged from 133.1 to 167.8 μg g-1 dry soil in fresh casts of the endogeic earthworm Pontoscolex corethrurus fed on an Amazonian Ultisol; this was approximately five times the concentration in non-ingested soil. Most of this N was in the form of NH inf4 sup+ . N also accumulated in microbial biomass, which increased from a control value of 10.5–11.3 to 67.5–74.1 μg g-1 in fresh casts. During a 16-day incubation, part of the NH inf4 sup+ -N was nitrified and/or transferred to the microbial biomass. Total labile N (i.e., mineral+biomas N) decreased sharply at first (ca. 50% in the first 12 h), and then more slowly. The exact fate of this N (microbial metabolites, denitrification, or volatilization) is not known. After 16 days, the overall N content of the casts was still 28% higher than that of the control soil. Incubation of the soil before ingestion by the earthworms significantly increased the production of NH inf4 sup+ in casts. We calculate that in a humid tropical pasture, 50–100 kg mineral N may be produced annually in earthworm casts. Part of this N may be conserved in the compact structure of the cast where the cast is not in close contact with plant roots.
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  • 9
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Springer
    Plant and soil 170 (1995), S. 23-33 
    ISSN: 1573-5036
    Keywords: digestion ; earthworms ; exudates ; microfoodwebs ; microflora ; mucus ; priming effect ; roots ; soil fauna ; termites
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract Most soil invertebrates and roots have developed strong interactions with micro-organisms to exploit the organic and mineral resources of soil. Micro-fauna are mainly predators of microorganisms whereas larger organisms interact with micro-organisms through the “external rumen” or facultative endosymbiotic digestive systems. Mobilisation of nutrient and organic resources through mutualism with soil microflora seems to be all the more efficient as the organisms are large (like e.g., roots, termites or earthworms) and temperature is high. In the humid tropics, part of the existing species richness may have originated from an increased base of resources resulting from the development of mutualistic relationships. Evidence for this process is given for earthworm communities. Consequences for soil function and the species richness of plants and consumers are discussed.
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2011-10-01
    Print ISSN: 1051-0761
    Electronic ISSN: 1939-5582
    Topics: Biology
    Published by Wiley on behalf of Ecological Society of America (ESA).
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