The findings by University College Dublin scientists published in the journal Biology Letters on 25 July 2012 suggest that rising soil temperatures due to climate change may be extending the geographical habitat range of the earthworm Prosellodrilus amplisetosus.
This is a P. amplisetosus in soil in the urban farm Dublin, Ireland.
Credit: Carol Melody, UCD
"Soil decomposer species including earthworms are frequently introduced into non-native soils by human activities like the transportation of nursery plants or live fish bait," says Dr Olaf Schmidt from the School of Agriculture and Food Science, and the Earth Institute, University College Dublin, one of the authors of the report.
"There have been a few recordings of the earthworm P. amplisetosus outside of its native range in the Aquitaine region of south-western France, but now we have discovered a successfully thriving population in Ireland, about 1,000 km north of its native habitat."
Urban farms have higher temperatures than rural farms so the scientists suggest that this may have helped P. amplisetosus to become established in this new location. The mean yearly air temperature in Aquitaine in south-western France is about 3 degrees higher than in Dublin, Ireland.
The finding brings to 27 the total number of known earthworm species living in Irish soils.
According to the scientists, the Mediterranean species of earthworm P. amplisetosus is not an invasive species in Ireland. It does not directly compete for resources with the other resident species.
"By comparing the chemical composition of the worms, we discovered that the newcomers feed on a portion of the soil that the other resident earthworms do not use," says Carol Melody, a PhD student at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, who co-authored the research paper.
"P. amplisetosus is a soil decomposer that eats organic carbon in portions of the soil to which the resident worm species don't have access," she says.
"If other soil decomposers like P. amplisetosus start to expand their habitat ranges we could see increasing amounts of CO2 being released from the soil where previously this carbon had been locked up because it was inaccessible to native earthworm species," says Dr Schmidt.
A sample of the P. amplisetosus found thriving in Dublin, Ireland, has been deposited in the Natural History Museum in London to archive the scientific discovery and to make scientists in Britain aware of the southern vagrants.
Dominic Martella | EurekAlert!
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine