Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Amazonian earthworm biodiversity is heavily impacted by ancient and recent human disturbance

Conrado, Ana C., Demetrio, Wilian C., Stanton, David W.G., Bartz, Marie L.C., James, Samuel W., Santos, Alessandra, da Silva, Elodie, Ferreira, Talita, Acioli, Agno N.S., Ferreira, Alexandre C., Maia, Lilianne S., Silva, Telma A.C., Lavelle, Patrick, Velasquez, Elena, Tapia-Coral, Sandra C., Muniz, Aleksander W., Segalla, Rodrigo F., Decaëns, Thibaud, Nadolny, Herlon S., Peña-Venegas, Clara P., Pasini, Amarildo, de Oliveira Júnior, Raimundo C., Kille, Peter ORCID:, Brown, George G. and Cunha, Luís 2023. Amazonian earthworm biodiversity is heavily impacted by ancient and recent human disturbance. Science of the Total Environment 895 , 165087. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.165087

[thumbnail of 1-s2.0-S0048969723037105-main.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Despite the importance of earthworms for soil formation, more is needed to know about how Pre-Columbian modifications to soils and the landscape. Gaining a deeper understanding is essential for comprehending the historical drivers of earthworm communities and the development of effective conservation strategies in the Amazon rainforest. Human disturbance can significantly impact earthworm diversity, especially in rainforest soils, and in the particular case of the Amazonian rainforest, both recent and ancient anthropic practices may be important. Amazonian Dark Earths (ADEs) are fertile soils found throughout the Amazon Basin, created by sedentary habits and intensification patterns of pre-Colombian societies primarily developed in the second part of the Holocene period. We have sampled earthworm communities in three Brazilian Amazonian (ADEs) and adjacent reference soils (REF) under old and young forests and monocultures. To better assess taxonomic richness, we used morphology and the barcode region of the COI gene to identify juveniles and cocoons and delimit Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs). Here we suggest using Integrated Operational Taxonomical units (IOTUs) which combine both morphological and molecular data and provide a more comprehensive assessment of diversity, while MOTUs only rely on molecular data. A total of 970 individuals were collected, resulting in 51 taxonomic units (IOTUs, MOTUs, and morphospecies combined). From this total, 24 taxonomic units were unique to REF soils, 17 to ADEs, and ten were shared between both soils. The highest richness was found in old forest sites for ADEs (12 taxonomic units) and REFs (21 taxonomic units). The beta-diversity calculations reveal a high species turnover between ADEs and REF soils, providing evidence that ADEs and REFs possess distinct soil biota. Furthermore, results suggest that ADE sites, formed by Pre-Columbian human activities, conserve a high number of native species in the landscape and maintain a high abundance, despite their long-term nature.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0048-9697
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 21 June 2023
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2023 10:37

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics