Location: Agroecosystem Management ResearchTitle: Earthworms (Oligochaeta: Acanthodrilidae and Lumbricidae) associated with Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, Travis County, Texas, USA Author
Submitted to: Megadrilogica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2013
Publication Date: 5/20/2013
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/57096
Citation: Damoff, G.A., Hamlett, P., Grubh, A., Jin, V.L., Johnson, M.V., Arnold, J.G., Fries, L. 2013. Earthworms (Oligochaeta: Acanthodrilidae and Lumbricidae) associated with Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, Travis County, Texas, USA. Megadrilogica. 15(12):251-265. Interpretive Summary: Earthworms can be used to indicate positive or negative management effects on soil health and fertility. Earthworms were used to assess the effects of applying municipal biosolids to fields as soil conditioners and a fertilizer source for hay production. Earthworm populations were different between managed fields compared to unmanaged habitats (wetlands, river terraces, unmanaged pastures). A new species of earthworm was discovered in the river terrace habitat, and native earthworm species made up the majority of earthworm communities in both managed and unmanaged soils. One species (Aporrectodea rosea) is a nonnative earthworm common to all habitats, and was most abundant in the biosolids managed fields. One of the native species (Diplocardia fusca) was present only in the biosolids managed fields. It is not clear if these changes in earthworm communities indicate negative management effects or if management favors these species over others. Further studies will be needed.
Technical Abstract: Earthworm populations were surveyed in soils from a variety of habitats associated with the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, Austin, Texas, from November 2009 through March 2010. Seven species of terrestrial Oligochaeta, including one species new to science, are reported from two families, each represented by one genus: Acanthodrilidae: Diplocardia caroliniana, D. fusca, D. invecta, D. smithii, D. sp. nov., and Lumbricidae: Aporrectodea rosea and Ap. trapezoides. Additional oligochaete specimens, mostly diplocardians, were also collected but species identification was not possible. Invasive Asian species of earthworms were not observed. Ap. rosea was the only prominent nonnative invasive earthworm species found in the soils of Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant during this survey.