Metal redistribution by surface casting of four earthworm species in sandy and loamy clay soils.

M.I. Zorn, C.A.M. van Gestel, H.J.P. Eijsackers

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Bioturbation of metal contaminated soils contributes considerably to redistribution and surfacing of contaminated soil from deeper layers. To experimentally measure the contribution of Allolobophora chlorotica, Aporrectodea caliginosa, Lumbricus rubellus and L. terrestris to soil surface casting, a time-course experiment was performed under laboratory conditions. Earthworms were incubated in perspex columns filled with sandy soil (2% organic matter, 2.9% clay) or loamy clay soil (15% organic matter, 20% clay), and surface casts were collected after up to 80 days. On the sandy soil, A. caliginosa and L. rubellus brought approximately 7.1-16 g dry wt. casts/g fresh wt. earthworm to the surface, which is significantly more than A. chlorotica and L. terrestris (2.5-5.0 g dry wt./g fresh wt.). A. caliginosa was the only species that produced significantly more surface casts in the sandy soil than in the loamy clay soil. In the loamy clay soil, no differences in biomass-corrected casting rates were found among the species. Surface casting rates tended to decrease after 20 days. Considering the densities of the different species in a Dutch floodplain area Afferdensche and Deestsche Waarden, surface cast production is estimated to amount to 2.0 kg dry soil/m
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)396-400
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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