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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Interaction of Drainage Technician and Ecosystem Engineer on a Clay Field: the Earthworm Burrow Route of Water into Tile Subdrains

Authors
item Nuutinen, V - MTT AGRIFOOD RES. FINLAND
item Butt, K - U. OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
item Shipitalo, Martin

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: We studied the interaction of earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) burrows and subdrains on a sandy clay field in Jokioinen, southwest Finland. The field has been drained in 1950's with 1 m deep tiles. In earlier investigations it had been noticed that the abundance of L. terrestris in the field was notably higher above the tiles than between the tile lines. Based on resin casting of L. terrestris burrows, the burrows were vertical and above the tiles deeper than between the tiles (1.0 m vs. 0.83 m). Burrows situated near the tile often ended on the tile surface or in the layer of sand surrounding the tile. We studied the importance of the burrows as flow paths of water into the tiles in midsummer when the soil surface was dry and cracking. Dyed water poured into the cracks flowed rapidly through the plow layer and started to flow laterally above the plow pan. The flow into the subsoil took place predominantly along earthworms burrows penetrating the plow pan. By following the dyed burrows we found out that L. terrestris burrows conducted water down to the tiles. According to our findings L. terrestris burrows appear to be efficient flow paths of water into tiles.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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