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Earthworms, which belong to the order Oligochaeta, comprise roughly 3,000 species grouped into five families. Earthworms have been called 'ecosystem engineers'; much like human engineers, they change the structure of their environments. Earthworms are very versatile and are found in nearly all terrestrial ecosystems. They play an important role in forest and agricultural ecosystems.
This "Soil Biology" volume describes the various facets of earthworms, such as their role in soil improvement, soil structure, and the biocontrol of soil-borne plant fungal diseases. Reviews discuss earthworms' innate immune system, molecular markers to address various issues of earthworm ecology, earthworm population dynamics, and the influences of organic farming systems and tillage. Further topics include the characteristics of vermicompost, relationships between soil earthworms and enzymes, the role of spermathecae, copulatory behavior, and adjustment of the donated sperm volume.
1. Antimicrobial Vermipeptides: From Method to Character: Sun Zhenjun*.- 2. Optimizing Earthworm Sampling in Ecosystems: Jan Valckx, Gerard Govers, Martin Hermy and Bart Muys*.- 3. Earthworms and Soil Structure: Yasemin Kavdir* and Remzi Adegreelay.- 4. Comparative Anatomy of the Calciferous Gland of Lumbricid Earthworms: Maria Jesus Iglesias Briones*, Trevor George Piearce.- 5. Reproduction of Earthworms: Sexual Selection and Parthenogenesis: Dario J. Diaz Cosin*, Marta Novo and Rosa Fernandez.- 6. The Earthworm Inoculation Unit (EIU) Technique: Development and Use in Soil Improvement Over Two Decades : Kevin Richard Butt.- 7. Controlled Cultivation of Endogeic and Anecic Earthworms: Kevin Richard Butt* and Christopher Nathan Lowe.- 8. The Meek Shall Inherit the Burrow -- Feedback in Earthworm Soil Modification: Visa Nuutinen.- 9. Earthworms Interactions with Soil Enzymes Interactions: Ridvan Kizilkaya*, Oguz Can Turgay, Sema Camci Cetin, Ayten Karaca.- 10. The Impact of Cultivation Techniques on Earthworm Populations: Avril Rothwell*, Keith Chaney and Pat Haydock .- 11. Assessing the Role of Earthworms in Biocontrol of Soil-borne Plant Fungal Diseases: Mukesh K Meghvansi*, Lokendra Singh, Ravi B Srivastava and Ajit Varma.- 12. The Use of Vermicompost Products to Control Plant Diseases and Pests: Yurdagul Simsek-Ersahin.- 13. Vermicompost as a Biological Soil Amendment: J. Tajbakhsh, E. Mohammadi Goltapeh* and Ajit Varma.- 14. Earthworm Innate Immune System: Peter Engelmann,*, Edwin L. Cooper, Balazs Opper, Peter Nemeth.- 15. Earthworms: A Potent Herbal Target for TCM (CAM) Research: Yung-Ming Chang, Wei-Yi Chi, Edwin L. Cooper, Wei-Wen Kuo,and Chih-Yang Huang*.- 16. Earthworms as Bioindicators of Soil Quality: Heinz-Christian Frund*, Ulfert Graefe and Sabine Tischer.- 17. Application of Molecular Genetics to Earthworm Ecology: Current Research and Promising Future Directions: F. Lazrek, T.P. Velavan, J. Mathieu and L. Dupont* .- 18. Population Dynamics of Earthworms in Organic Farming Systems: James B. Kotcon.