This 4th edition updates the latest research on earthworms. More than 3,000 species of earthworm exist in the world. They are considered to be an important ally in advancing environmental and biomedical research. Earthworms play an important role in forest or agricultural ecosystems and play an increasing role in biomedical issues. Earthworms are critical to the environment because they consume huge quantities of decomposed litter, manure, and other organic matter deposited on soil -- helping to convert it into rich topsoil Earthworms can also help reduce soil compaction, improve permeability--thus providing channels for root growth, water infiltration, and gas exchange. Earthworms are also important animals for the assessment of the toxicity of chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides, which are deliberately released into the environment. Earthworms are superb â€˜barometers' or â€˜sentinels' providing an early warning of deterioration in soil quality.
Students and researchers in soil science and environmental management
Preface.- Earthworm Morphology.- Earthworm Biodiversity and Biogeography.- Earthworm Biology.- Earthworm Physiology.- Earthworm Ecology: Populations.- Earthworm Ecology: Communities.- The Influence of Environmental Factors on Earthworms.- The Role of Earthworms in Organic Matter and Nutrient Cycles.- Earthworms and Micro-Organisms.- Role of Earthworms in Soil Structure, Fertility and Productivity.- Earthworms as Pests and Benefactors.- Earthworms in Environmental Management.- Effects of Agricultural Practices and Chemicals on Earthworms.- Appendix: Summary of Results on Laboratory and Field Experiments on Testing the Toxicity of Chemicals to Earthworms.- Glossary.- Bibliography.-Index.