Anecic earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) alliviate negative effects of extreme rainfall events on soil and plants in field mesocosms

W.S. Andriuzzi, M.M. Pulleman, O. Schmidt, J.H. Faber, L. Brussaard

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29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims - Intense rains are becoming more frequent. By causing waterlogging, they may increase soil erosion and soil surface compaction, hamper seedling establishment, and reduce plant growth. Since anecic earthworms make vertical burrows that improve water infiltration, we hypothesised that they can counteract such disturbance. Methods - In a field experiment, intact soil mesocosms with ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), with or without introduced adult Lumbricus terrestris, underwent either a precipitation regime with two intense rain events (36 mm, at beginning and end of spring), or a control regime with the same cumulative rainfall but no intense events. Short-term response of soil moisture and lagged response of plant growth were measured, and soil macroporosity was quantified. Results - Intense rains reduced ryegrass shoot biomass (by 16–21 % on average) only in the absence of earthworms. Waterlogging duration aboveground was not affected, whereas soil moisture contents after intense rainfall tended to drop faster with earthworms present. Continuous vertical macropores were found only in the mesocosms to which earthworms had been added. The number of such macropores was 2.4 times higher under the intense precipitation regime, despite similar earthworm survival. Conclusions - We found that anecic earthworms can offset negative effects of intense rainfall on plant growth aboveground. Underlying mechanisms, such as macropore formation and enhanced nutrient cycling, are discussed. We also observed that altered precipitation patterns can modify earthworm burrowing behaviour, as earthworms had produced more burrows under the intense regime
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume397
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Lumbricus terrestris
earthworms
earthworm
rain
rainfall
macropores
soil
macropore
waterlogging
plant growth
flooded conditions
Lolium
burrow
burrows
soil moisture
effect
seedling establishment
Lolium multiflorum
burrowing
nutrient cycling

Cite this

@article{fa5d00f891134d0bb4684d725b5e263e,
title = "Anecic earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) alliviate negative effects of extreme rainfall events on soil and plants in field mesocosms",
abstract = "Background and aims - Intense rains are becoming more frequent. By causing waterlogging, they may increase soil erosion and soil surface compaction, hamper seedling establishment, and reduce plant growth. Since anecic earthworms make vertical burrows that improve water infiltration, we hypothesised that they can counteract such disturbance. Methods - In a field experiment, intact soil mesocosms with ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), with or without introduced adult Lumbricus terrestris, underwent either a precipitation regime with two intense rain events (36 mm, at beginning and end of spring), or a control regime with the same cumulative rainfall but no intense events. Short-term response of soil moisture and lagged response of plant growth were measured, and soil macroporosity was quantified. Results - Intense rains reduced ryegrass shoot biomass (by 16–21 {\%} on average) only in the absence of earthworms. Waterlogging duration aboveground was not affected, whereas soil moisture contents after intense rainfall tended to drop faster with earthworms present. Continuous vertical macropores were found only in the mesocosms to which earthworms had been added. The number of such macropores was 2.4 times higher under the intense precipitation regime, despite similar earthworm survival. Conclusions - We found that anecic earthworms can offset negative effects of intense rainfall on plant growth aboveground. Underlying mechanisms, such as macropore formation and enhanced nutrient cycling, are discussed. We also observed that altered precipitation patterns can modify earthworm burrowing behaviour, as earthworms had produced more burrows under the intense regime",
author = "W.S. Andriuzzi and M.M. Pulleman and O. Schmidt and J.H. Faber and L. Brussaard",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1007/s11104-015-2604-4",
language = "English",
volume = "397",
pages = "103--113",
journal = "Plant and Soil",
issn = "0032-079X",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "1",

}

Anecic earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) alliviate negative effects of extreme rainfall events on soil and plants in field mesocosms. / Andriuzzi, W.S.; Pulleman, M.M.; Schmidt, O.; Faber, J.H.; Brussaard, L.

In: Plant and Soil, Vol. 397, No. 1, 2015, p. 103-113.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Anecic earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) alliviate negative effects of extreme rainfall events on soil and plants in field mesocosms

AU - Andriuzzi, W.S.

AU - Pulleman, M.M.

AU - Schmidt, O.

AU - Faber, J.H.

AU - Brussaard, L.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Background and aims - Intense rains are becoming more frequent. By causing waterlogging, they may increase soil erosion and soil surface compaction, hamper seedling establishment, and reduce plant growth. Since anecic earthworms make vertical burrows that improve water infiltration, we hypothesised that they can counteract such disturbance. Methods - In a field experiment, intact soil mesocosms with ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), with or without introduced adult Lumbricus terrestris, underwent either a precipitation regime with two intense rain events (36 mm, at beginning and end of spring), or a control regime with the same cumulative rainfall but no intense events. Short-term response of soil moisture and lagged response of plant growth were measured, and soil macroporosity was quantified. Results - Intense rains reduced ryegrass shoot biomass (by 16–21 % on average) only in the absence of earthworms. Waterlogging duration aboveground was not affected, whereas soil moisture contents after intense rainfall tended to drop faster with earthworms present. Continuous vertical macropores were found only in the mesocosms to which earthworms had been added. The number of such macropores was 2.4 times higher under the intense precipitation regime, despite similar earthworm survival. Conclusions - We found that anecic earthworms can offset negative effects of intense rainfall on plant growth aboveground. Underlying mechanisms, such as macropore formation and enhanced nutrient cycling, are discussed. We also observed that altered precipitation patterns can modify earthworm burrowing behaviour, as earthworms had produced more burrows under the intense regime

AB - Background and aims - Intense rains are becoming more frequent. By causing waterlogging, they may increase soil erosion and soil surface compaction, hamper seedling establishment, and reduce plant growth. Since anecic earthworms make vertical burrows that improve water infiltration, we hypothesised that they can counteract such disturbance. Methods - In a field experiment, intact soil mesocosms with ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), with or without introduced adult Lumbricus terrestris, underwent either a precipitation regime with two intense rain events (36 mm, at beginning and end of spring), or a control regime with the same cumulative rainfall but no intense events. Short-term response of soil moisture and lagged response of plant growth were measured, and soil macroporosity was quantified. Results - Intense rains reduced ryegrass shoot biomass (by 16–21 % on average) only in the absence of earthworms. Waterlogging duration aboveground was not affected, whereas soil moisture contents after intense rainfall tended to drop faster with earthworms present. Continuous vertical macropores were found only in the mesocosms to which earthworms had been added. The number of such macropores was 2.4 times higher under the intense precipitation regime, despite similar earthworm survival. Conclusions - We found that anecic earthworms can offset negative effects of intense rainfall on plant growth aboveground. Underlying mechanisms, such as macropore formation and enhanced nutrient cycling, are discussed. We also observed that altered precipitation patterns can modify earthworm burrowing behaviour, as earthworms had produced more burrows under the intense regime

U2 - 10.1007/s11104-015-2604-4

DO - 10.1007/s11104-015-2604-4

M3 - Article

VL - 397

SP - 103

EP - 113

JO - Plant and Soil

JF - Plant and Soil

SN - 0032-079X

IS - 1

ER -