Earthworms excrete calcite in
sufficient quantities to have a small but significant impact on the soil C
cycle. In our initial NERC-funded project (NE/F009623/1, Impact of soil
chemistry and diet on rates of calcite production by the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus) Dr Denise Lambkin
(in collaboration with Dr Trevor Piearce,
We now have further NERC funding (NE/H021914/1, Earthworm secreted calcite granules - constructing a new terrestrial palaeo-environment thermometer and quantifying carbon sequestration potential) to employ Dr Emma Versteegh to investigate sources of carbon in the granules and examine variation in C and O isotope ratios.
In addition Dr Lorenza Brinza is funded by the Diamond Light Source to investigate the behaviour of metals in the granules and their mineralogy.
Electron back scattered diffraction and secondary electron
micrographs of earthworm calcite granules taken by Dr Martin Lee,