PhD defence

Ecological functions of earthworms in soil

PhD candidate Walter Andriuzzi
Promotor prof.dr. L (Lijbert) Brussaard
Co-promotor dr. JH (Jack) Faber
Co-promotor prof. dr T Bolger, dr O Schmidt
Organisation Wageningen University & Research
Date

Mon 31 August 2015 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Aula, gebouwnummer 362

Summary

Charles Darwin, the father of modern evolutionary biology as well as a pioneer ecologist, suggested that earthworms played a more important part in the history of the world than most people would assume. In his PhD project undertaken in Wageningen University and University College Dublin, Walter Andriuzzi studied how different species of earthworms influence ecosystem functioning. In a series of experiments in Ireland, France and the Netherlands, he studied how earthworms form macropores in soil, and transfer carbon and nitrogen from plant litter and organic fertilizers into soil; and how this affects soil organic matter, plant growth, and smaller soil organisms like amoebae and nematodes. The results, together with many other studies discussed in the thesis, confirm that these apparently lowly creatures are major regulators of soil structure and fertility, and can thus have a big impact on ecosystems.