• The Use of Radiocarbon to Measure the Effects of Earthworms on Soil Development

      Stout, J. D.; Goh, K. M. (American Journal of Science, 1980-01-01)
      Delta-14C and delta-13C values for organic matter in forest and grassland soils, in the presence or absence of earthworms, indicate that it should be possible to quantify the effects of earthworms on soil organic matter by this means. Without earthworms, both in forest and grassland soils, plant debris tends to accumulate on the surface of the mineral soil and little organic matter is incorporated into or is translocated down the soil profile. Where earthworms are present, there is much more marked incorporation of fresh plant debris in the mineral soil. This is shown especially by the pulse of `bomb' carbon and also by the delta-13C values.