Relationship Between Forest Soil pH and Earthworm Biomass

Scatterplot of soil pH and earthworm abundance in quadrats sampled at White Memorial.
I examined the relationship between forest soil O-Horizon pH and earthworm biomass at 70 randomly selected plots at White Memorial from July - September 2014.  Southern New England soils are acidic primarily due to the bedrock that occurs in this region.  You can observe the bedrock on the property as you walk the trails.  Most of the bedrock outcrops consist of granite gneiss, mica schitz, and quartz crystals.  The surface soils are subsequently acidic.  A positive relationship was observed between earthworm abundance and soil pH.  As soils become more neutral, more nutrients could be made available for plants.  Earthworm abundance could also remediate the effects of acid precipitation as well as other factors that disturb forest soils.  I will present further data that shows relationships between earthworms and forest plants in subsequent blog posts.

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