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Philips, H.R.P., et. al. and N.J.M. van Eekeren. 2019. Global distribution of earthworm diversity. Science. 366(6464):480-485.


DOI: 10.1126/science.aax4851

Type of document: Journal Article

More information on authors/freelancers connected to LBI :
Nick J.M. van Eekeren Ph.D.


Language of document: English

Title in English: Global distribution of earthworm diversity

Abstract / summary in English:

Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass. We found that local species richness and abundance typically peaked at higher latitudes, displaying patterns opposite to those observed in aboveground organisms. However, high species dissimilarity across tropical locations may cause diversity across the entirety of the tropics to be higher than elsewhere. Climate variables were found to be more important in shaping earthworm communities than soil properties or habitat cover. These findings suggest that climate change may have serious implications for earthworm communities and for the functions they provide.


Keywords in English: earthworms, terrestrial ecosystems, global dataset, abundance, habitat, climate change
Global distribution of earthworm diversity