Senior Thesis

Earthworms are a part of the valuable and influential soil invertebrate ecosystem upon which we all depend. Of the total diversity of all organisms described to date, soil invertebrates are thought to make up 23% (Lavelle et. al., 2006). A standard sampling of the soil within a typical tropical or temperate ecosystem is said to yield 100-400 soil macrofauna species (Lavelle et. al., 2006). Of these soil species, earthworms provide many ecosystem services, such as soil physical property enhancement, climate regulation, and bioindication ability. Specifically, earthworms are fundamental contributors to soil services such as nutrient cycling, soil formation and aeration, water retention, and plant growth promotion. These services allow for the control of greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration, as well as flood regulation, and soil detoxification (Lavelle et. al., 2006). These soil macro invertebrates therefore play a considerable role in improving overall soil quality and health, which is defined by the Soil Science Society of America as “the capacity of a soil to function within ecosystem boundaries to sustain biological productivity, maintain ecosystem quality, and promote plant and animal health‚ÄĚ (Food and Agriculture, 2008).

The Biodiversity of Earthworms and Ecosystem Services in Soil: Essay

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