Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 7°C

Search
East Anglia Future 50

Species of worm important as indicator of healthy soil, says scientist

PUBLISHED: 14:42 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:08 04 May 2018

Jackie Stroud, soil scientist at Rothamsted Research, examining earthworms. Picture: ROTHAMSTED RESEARCH

Jackie Stroud, soil scientist at Rothamsted Research, examining earthworms. Picture: ROTHAMSTED RESEARCH

Rothamsted Research

Experts will be discussing whether earthworms really are indicators of good soil at a panel event in May.

The Agri-Tech East event, entitled Waiting for Worms, is on May 16 at Morley Farms, Wymondham. Speaker Jackie Stroud, soil scientist at Rothamsted Research, said it was a complex area.

“There are 10 common species of earthworm and they can be divided into three ecological groups, each with a different role: epigeic live on the surface and break down organic matter; anecic or burrowing worms make permanent vertical burrows and create piles of casts or middens that can be teeming with microorganisms; and lastly endogeic worms mix organic and mineral components together in the topsoil,” she said. “In all my years digging soil pits I always find the endogeic worms, even in heavily worked soil, so I am very cautious about using ‘earthworm numbers’ as an indicator of soil health without identifying the species.”

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists