Investigation into the effects of Lumbricus rubel/us on soil pH
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Every earthworm found in the north east region of the United States is an invasive species. These invasive worms have been known to change many physical and chemical properties of Northern hardwood forests including leaf litter depth, nutrient cycling and seed bed productivity (Hale, 2007). In addition to these changes it was hypothesized that some species, namely Lumbricus rubellus can alter pH in the surrounding soil. Three treatments were devised comprising of ten pots each. A high worms treatment (HW) consisting of eight worms, a low worms treatment (L W) consisting of four worms, and a control treatment was designed to mimic the conditions found in a Northern Beech forest. The invasive worm species L.rubellus significantly increased the pH of water leached from both the HW and L W treatments. Also, the water leached from the control treatments became significantly more acidic. L. rubellus did not significantly change the soil pH in either the HW or LW treatments. However, the mineral layer of the .control treatments became significantly more acidic while the pH of both the HW and L W treatments remained constant. Thus, L.rubellus does affect the pH of its surroundings, both in the soil and water leached from the system. Observations were made that L.rubellus may increase erosion and mixing of the forest floor as the soil of both the HW and L W treatments were considerably less stratified at the end of the experiment.