An oasis of fertility on a barren island: earthworms at Papadil, Isle of RumAuthor(s): K.R. Butt; C.N. Lowe; Mac Callaham; V. Nuutinen
Source: The Glasgow Naturalist
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (233.0 KB)
The Isle of Rum, Inner Hebrides, has an impoverished earthworm fauna as the soils are generally acidic and nutrient-poor. Species associated with human habitation are found around deserted crofting settlements subjected to “clearances” in the mid-19th century and at Kinloch, where a large volume of fertile soil was imported from the mainland around 1900. Earthworms, and the dew worm Lumbricus terrestris L. in particular, were investigated at Papadil, an abandoned settlement and one of the few locations on Rum where a naturally developed brown earth soil is present. The small (1.5 ha), fertile location is isolated, so was also suitable for field experimentation. Visits over six years allowed dew worm distribution to be assessed within low lying grassland and woodland and also within an adjacent sloping broadleaved woodland. The factors limiting dew worm distribution at the site were investigated with associated translocation to adjacent uninhabited areas. Small scale spatial dynamics were studied with density manipulation and containment experiments where Visual Implant Elastomer marking of individuals was utilised. Translocations from streamside woodland to adjacent grassland was successful over a short period (5 months), but the colonies did not persist over a longer term (5-6 years). Field trials with earthworm tagging were successful, but highest tag recovery rate was 25%. Where adults/sub-adults were removed, recruitment of juveniles was notable. Exceptionally large (>12 g live mass) individuals were found in soils of terraces on wooded slopes, suggesting that dew worms may be long lived at this location, where food is abundant and relatively few terrestrial predators are present.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationButt, K.R.; Lowe, C.N.; Callaham Jr., M.A.; Nuutinen, V. 2016. An oasis of fertility on a barren island: earthworms at Papadil, Isle of Rum. The Glasgow Naturalist. 26(2): 13-20. 8 p.
- Introduced earthworm species exhibited unique patterns of seasonal activity and vertical distribution, and Lumbricus terrestris burrows remained usable for at least 7 years in hardwood and pine stands
- Impacts of elevated CO2 and O3 on aspen leaf litter chemistry and earthworm and springtail productivity
- Genetic comparisons between North American and European populations of Lumbricus terrestris L
XML: View XML