2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

Respiration Rates of Two Exotic Earthworms
Emily M. Knipp
Dr. Ben Wodika and Dr. Laura Fielden-Rechav, Faculty Mentors

Earthworms are critical in ecosystems by providing numerous services such as nutrient cycling, improving soil structure, and are links to higher trophic levels. In many temperate regions, native earthworms have been displaced by Eurasian species. In this study, we are attempting to document the metabolic rate of these exotic earthworms to understand how their activity may influence soil properties and processes. We hypothesize that larger earthworms would have a higher metabolic rate as measured by CO2 output due to a larger surface area. CO2 emission rates of the two worms in this study,Eisenia hortensis and Lumbricus terrestris were measured using a computerized flow- through respirometry system in conjunction with a LiCor CO2 analyser. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, E. hortensis had a mass specific rate of respiration ~ 1.5 time greater than L. terrestris. Future exploration will involve a native earthworm to compare rates of respiration and possible ecosystem consequences.

Keywords: Earthworms, Respiration, Ecosystem, Exotic species

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 4-12
Location: GEO-SUB
Time: 3:30

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