Soil organisms provide crucial ecosystem services that support human life. However, little is known about their diversity, distribution, and the threats affecting them. Here, we compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from over 7000 sites in 56 countries to predict patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass. We identify the environmental drivers shaping these patterns. Local species richness and abundance typically peaked at higher latitudes, while biomass peaked in the tropics, patterns opposite to those observed in aboveground organisms. Similar to many aboveground taxa, climate variables were more important in shaping earthworm communities than soil properties or habitat cover. These findings highlight that, while the environmental drivers are similar, conservation strategies to conserve aboveground biodiversity might not be appropriate for earthworm diversity, especially in a changing climate.

Global distribution of earthworm diversity

Christian Mulder
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2019-01-01

Abstract

Soil organisms provide crucial ecosystem services that support human life. However, little is known about their diversity, distribution, and the threats affecting them. Here, we compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from over 7000 sites in 56 countries to predict patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass. We identify the environmental drivers shaping these patterns. Local species richness and abundance typically peaked at higher latitudes, while biomass peaked in the tropics, patterns opposite to those observed in aboveground organisms. Similar to many aboveground taxa, climate variables were more important in shaping earthworm communities than soil properties or habitat cover. These findings highlight that, while the environmental drivers are similar, conservation strategies to conserve aboveground biodiversity might not be appropriate for earthworm diversity, especially in a changing climate.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/363164
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