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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2010, Article ID 737096, 9 pages
Research Article

The Effect of Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris L.) Population Density and Soil Water Content Interactions on Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Agricultural Soils

1School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1
2Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1

Received 30 June 2009; Revised 1 March 2010; Accepted 14 March 2010

Academic Editor: Natchimuthu Karmegam

Copyright © 2010 Andrew K. Evers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Earthworms may have an influence on the production of , a greenhouse gas, as a result of the ideal environment contained in their gut and casts for denitrifier bacteria. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris L.) population density, soil water content and emissions in a controlled greenhouse experiment based on population densities (90 to 270 individuals ) found at the Guelph Agroforestry Research Station (GARS) from 1997 to 1998. An experiment conducted at considerably higher than normal densities of earthworms revealed a significant relationship between earthworm density, soil water content and emissions, with mean emissions increasing to 43.5 g at 30 earthworms 0.0333  at 35% soil water content. However, a second experiment, based on the density of earthworms at GARS, found no significant difference in emissions (5.49 to 6.99 g ) aa a result of density and 31% soil water content.