University of Reading Research Data Archive

Input, validation and output data for the mechanistic earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) population model, EEEworm

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The activities of ecosystem engineers are considered important to the soil functions
that underpin the provision of ecosystem services. Earthworms act as important ecosystem
engineers in soils, are extensively distributed across the globe, and often represent the most abundant animal biomass in terrestrial ecosystems. Their influence on the structural properties of soil and microorganism communities regulates soil organic matter (SOM) and promotes plant growth. Digestion and the creation of burrows and casts facilitate water and gas transport, incorporation of plant material in the soil and mixing of soil mineral and organic fractions, whilst an increase in water infiltration rates can decrease the potential for soil erosion by 50%, significant in the restoration of degraded land. These features make earthworms of great importance in managing ecosystem services. Crucial to food production from agriculture are the beneficial effects of earthworms on plant growth. Yet, under conventional agriculture, many of the beneficial properties of earthworm activity are replaced by the use of chemicals and mechanical management practices.

Proliferation of the deep burrowing anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris has been particularly well linked to various soil functions and ecosystem services. However, while L. terrestris is a dominant earthworm species in undisturbed habitats, their populations have been shown to greatly decline in conventional agriculture. Still, in reduced tillage agriculture a decline in mechanical disturbance allows for L. terrestris proliferation, whilst the activities of L. terrestris can replace many of the soil functions provided by tillage. In our paper (Forecasting tillage and soil warming effects on anecic earthworm populations) we present EEEworm, a mechanistic model of Lumbricus terrestris populations. We validate that the EEEworm model can predict individual and population-level dynamics as observed in independent laboratory and field trial data, and then use the model to explore the drivers of tillage effects on L. terrestris populations and project long-term consequences of different tillage intensities under future soil warming conditions.

In this dataset we provide EEEworm model simulation outputs for the simulations described in our paper, either at the individual-level in the laboratory or population-level in the field. Corresponding data from the independent studies, which are compared to our model outputs in the paper, are available from the various publications listed in the documentation. Input weather files are also provided, which were used to input weather conditions at INRA and Rothamsted experimental stations for the population-level simulations.

Resource Type: Dataset
Creators: Johnston, Alice ORCID logoORCID:
Rights-holders: University of Reading
Data Publisher: University of Reading
Publication Year: 2017
Data last accessed: 10 June 2024
Metadata Record URL:
Organisational units: Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Participating Organisations: University of Reading, Syngenta Ltd
Keywords: EEEworm, individual based model, Lumbricus terrestris, energy budget model, tillage, soil warming, Netlogo
Data Availability: OPEN


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