Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2014 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Earthworm Community Assemblages of Forests in the Greater Baltimore Area
Dec, Adam
Co-Authors: Adam Dec

Abstract: A significant part of modern ecological research attempts to understand the role of human interactions and their relationship with the environment around them. Within urban systems, land management practices vary across small spatial scales and the resulting environment may differ greatly from outer-lying, rural area. Well documented in forest and grassland ecosystems, earthworms can play a significant role in litter decomposition, carbon and nitrogen cycling, and alter physical soil properties when occurring in high densities. However within urban areas, the factors influencing earthworm distribution, abundance, and community structure are less known. This poster presents the results of my summer research about the effects of urbanization on earthworm communities within the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Analysis of long-term earthworm sampling at BES Permanent Forest Plots reveal that over the past decade earthworm communities have remained relatively stable. The introduction of the exotic, earthworm genus Amynthas has been the most significant change in community structure. Frequent sampling of a remnant, forest plot was conducted for three months to monitor population dynamics of Amynthas. Geospatial representation of the survey site reveal moderate relationship to soil moisture and seasonal change in density (early to late summer).