Earthworms and their Ecological Significance

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Adarsh Pal Vig, PhD (Editor) – Professor, Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India
Surendra Singh Suthar, PhD (Editor) – Associate Professor, School of Environment & Natural Resources, Doon University, Dehradun, India
Jaswinder Singh, PhD (Editor) – Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, Khalsa College Amritsar, Punjab, India

Series: Life Sciences Research and Development
BISAC: SCI070020; SCI026000
DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/QSBG2612

The earthworm has been known since ancient times for its valuable services to soil fertility management and litter nutrient cycling. The Greek philosopher Aristotle named earthworm “the guts of the soil” because of its direct role in soil formation through gut fragmentation of large soil particles, forming fine soil aggregates rich in organic matter. The famous natural scientist Charles Darwin also described the importance of earthworms in the natural world and he wrote the document entitled “The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms with Observation on Their Habits” in 1881, observing that “worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first suppose”.

During the last 30-40 years, earthworms have been studied intensively in the various disciplines of animal ecology, pedology, waste recycling, agriculture science, soil biology and chemistry, ecotoxicology, and pharmaceutical sciences. Because of their importance in soil and below-ground ecology, earthworms have been designated as “ecosystem engineers”. Soil fertility maintenance, soil litter decomposition, soil microbial communities and other detritus community structures and their function are directly or indirectly affected by earthworms’ presence in soils. Apart from that, earthworms have appeared as a promising tool to recycle nutrients from various kinds of organic waste substances and stabilization of industrial sledges. Vermicomposting could be a valuable and low-cost technique for farmers for onsite waste management and nutrient-rich manure production. Scientists are always looking for new species for solid waste management. Thus, scientists around the world are working on earthworm biodiversity assessment and evaluation of their ecosystem services and value addition in other environmental management sectors.

Efforts have been made in this edited volume to compile recent advancements in earthworm biology and their promising services in different fields of environmental management and resource conservations. This book contains three sub-sections: earthworm ecology, vermicomposting, and earthworm ecotoxicology. A total of 17 chapters are included in this edited volume. In the first section two chapters cover phylogeny and distribution of earthworm, and distribution of earthworm in Canadian ecozones; in the second section a total of seven chapters are included describing the role of vermitechnology in bioremediation of agriculture waste, pharmaceutical waste substances, industrial sludge stabilizations, and soil nutrient supply; and the third section includes eight chapters describing the effect of various hazardous substances like pesticides, microplastics, heavy metals, and neonicotinoids on earthworm growth, survival, reproduction and toxicity.

In the end, we acknowledge the people and family members who are directly or indirectly associated with the compilation of this book. Without their moral and technical support, this book would not see the light of day.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Section I. Earthworm Ecology

Chapter 1. Phylogenetic and Genetic Discernment with Respect to Multi-Gene Catenation in Earthworms (Clitella: Oligochaeta): A Global Conspectus
(Azhar Rashid Lone, Samrendra Singh Thakur, Nalini Tiwari, Olusola B Sokefun and Shweta Yadav – Department of Zoology, Dr. Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya (A Central University) Sagar, M. P, India, et al.)

Chapter 2. Earthworms (Oligochaeta: Lumbricidae, Megascolecidae and Sparganophilidae) in the Canadian Ecozones
(John Warren Reynolds – Oligochaetology Laboratory, Kitchener, ON, Canada New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, NB, Canada)

Section II. Vermicomposting

Chapter 3. Vermicomposting: A Promising Tool for Sustainable Agriculture
(Ankeet Bhagat, Madan Lal, Jaswinder Singh and Arvinder Kaur – Department of Zoology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, et al.)

Chapter 4. Vermibiotechnology: A Promising Tool for Waste Management and Organic Farming
(Anjali Singh, Zaveesha Saman and Keshav Singh – Vermibiotechnology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, U.P. India)

Chapter 5. Compost and Vermicompost Production from Plantain Waste – A Quality Assessment
(Abdullah Adil Ansari, Luwani Marion Lambey and Sirpaul Jaikishun – Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana, South America)

Chapter 6. Vermistabilization of Industrial Sludge
(Deachen Angmo, Rahil Dutta, Rakesh Joshi, Anu Bala Chowdhary, and Manik Sharma – Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, et al.)

Chapter 7. Bioremediation of Wastewater Sludge from Pharmaceutical Industries through Vermistabilization
(Soubam IndraKumar Singh, Waikhom Roshan Singh and Adarsh Pal Vig – Department of Botanical and Environmental Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, et al.)

Chapter 8. Earthworms as Ecological Engineers and its Role in Bioconversion of Organic Waste through Vermicomposting
(Chaichi Devi and Meena Khwairakpam – Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Technology Meghalaya, Shillong, Meghalaya, India, et al.)

Chapter 9. Effect of Vermicompost, Farm Yard Manure and Biofertilizers on Soil Health and Plant Nutrition
(Salwinder Singh Dhaliwal, Vivek Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Sohan Singh Walia, Jaswinder Singh, Vibha Verma and Neeraj Rani – Department of Soil Science, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab, India, et al.)

Section III. Earthworm Ecotoxicology

Chapter 10. Ecosystem Engineering by Earthworms
(Jaspreet Kour, Kanika Khanna, Pooja Sharma, Shalini Dhiman, Arun Dev Singh, Kamini Devi, Ashutosh Sharma, Rupinder Kaur,Puja Ohri and Renu Bhardwaj – Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, et al.)

Chapter 11. Ecotoxicological Assessment of Pesticides in Earthworms
(Anu Bala Chowdhary, Jahangeer Quadar, Sharanpreet Singh, Bhawana Sohal, Deachen Angmo,Samiksha and Jaswinder Singh – Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, et al.)

Chapter 12. Source, Extraction and Identification of Microplastics and their Effects on Earthworms
(Babita, Jaswinder Singh and Joginder Singh – Department of Microbiology, School of Bioengineering and Biosciences, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, India, et al.)

Chapter 13. Microplastics and Earthworms
(Nisha Vashishat, S. S. Hundal, and Raminderdeep Kaur – Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab, India)

Chapter 14. The Potential Risk of Soil Microplastic Contamination on Earthworms
(C. S. K. Mishra, Suryasikha Samal, Rashmi Rekha Samal, Pratik Acharya, Samrudhi Nayak, Tanushree Moharana and Stutipragyna Pradhan – Department of Zoology, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, College of Basic Science and Humanities, Bhubaneswar, India, et al.)

Chapter 15. Neonicotinoids: Effect on Survival, Growth, Reproduction and Genotoxicity in Earthworms
(Harpreet Kaur, S. S. Hundal and Jaswinder Singh – Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab, et al.)

Chapter 16. Earthworm Ecotoxicology: Role of Heavy Metals and Nanoparticles
(R. K. Aulakh, S. S. Hundal and Jaswinder Singh – Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India, et al.)

Chapter 17. Effect of Lead-Contaminated Soil on Survival, Growth, and Reproduction in Earthworms (Eisenia fetida)
(Anupriya Chauhan and Surindra Suthar – Solid and Liquid Waste Treatment Research Group, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Doon University, Dehradun, India)

Index

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