Authored by: P.C.J. van Vliet , Paul F. Hendrix , M.A. Callaham

Handbook of Soil Sciences Properties and Processes

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803059
eBook ISBN: 9781439803066
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Among the soil fauna, earthworms are perhaps the most widely recognized and, along with ants and termites, function as ecosystem engineers with significant effects on soil structure and processes (Lavelle and Spain, 2001; Wardle, 2002). For these reasons, earthworms have been intensively studied for their potential benefits in agriculture, waste management, and land reclamation. The scientific literature on earthworms dates back over 200 years to the taxonomic description of Lumbricus terrestris by Linnaeus (1758). The modern era of earthworm research, in the context of soil science, began with Darwin (1881) and a vast literature has accumulated since then. Reviews of the literature from the past several decades can be found in Satchell (1983), Lee (1985), Dindal (1990), Curry (1994), Hendrix (1995), Edwards and Bohlen (1996), Lavelle et al. (1999), Lavelle and Spain (2001), and Edwards (2004). This chapter draws from these and other works to give a brief overview of earthworm biology, ecology, methods of collection, and analyses of earthworm tissues in food-web studies or for advanced systematic and taxonomic work.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.