The role of earthworms in enhanced mineral weathering: understanding their impact on carbon dynamics and sustainable fertilisation.

Project: PhD

Project Details


Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) are required to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement for climate stabilization. Enhanced weathering (EW) is a NET with a great potential for CO2 capture, which could significantly contribute to mitigation goals in the next decades. Previous studies have highlighted the important role of soil biota on weathering, but until now no research has focused on how to harness the power that soil biota can have for EW and how this can have a beneficial effect on climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. Within this project, I will investigate the role of earthworms in mineral weathering in an artificial system and the best conditions to optimize weathering rates therein. This will be done through a series of two-months experiments in a climate chamber by using a unique set-up and combining different earthworm species, minerals, organic materials and water flow rates. Moreover, this research will test the potential of using the organo-mineral-cast mixture as a fertilizer and to enhance soil carbon storage, considering also heavy metal availability and toxicity. For this purpose, a greenhouse experiment will be carried out to test the effects of this end-product on two different plant species and soil types. This project will contribute to provide a mechanistic understanding of earthworms' impact on mineral weathering and carbon dynamics and provide a new product for sustainable soil fertilization.
Effective start/end date1/09/21 → …


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