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Global distribution of earthworm diversity

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Science  25 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6464, pp. 480-485
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax4851

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Earthworm distribution in global soils

Earthworms are key components of soil ecological communities, performing vital functions in decomposition and nutrient cycling through ecosystems. Using data from more than 7000 sites, Phillips et al. developed global maps of the distribution of earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass (see the Perspective by Fierer). The patterns differ from those typically found in aboveground taxa; there are peaks of diversity and abundance in the mid-latitude regions and peaks of biomass in the tropics. Climate variables strongly influence these patterns, and changes are likely to have cascading effects on other soil organisms and wider ecosystem functions.

Science, this issue p. 480; see also p. 425

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