Table 3 Relationship between earthworm abundance in soil blocks (total in 20 × 20 × 20 cm) and soil and plant parameters. Treatments with the same suffix letter in the same column indicates no significant difference according to Kruskal-Wallis and Bonferroni post-hoc testing (p > 0.05)

From: Plant, soil and faunal responses to a contrived pH gradient

s   Earthworm Abundance   
Epigeic Endogeic Anecic
Total Earthworms Total Adults Total Juveniles Adult Juvenile Total Adult Juvenile Total Adult Juvenile Total
Mean (n = 10) ± S.E.
  Control 8.2 ± 2.4a 2.1 ± 0.7a 6.1 ± 1.9a 0.1 ± 0.1a 1.7 ± 0.8a 1.8 ± 0.8a 1.7 ± 0.8a 4.1 ± 1.7a 5.8 ± 2.3a 0.3 ± 0.2a 0.3 ± 0.3a 0.6 ± 0.4a
  Elemental Sulphur 2.0 ± 0.5b 0.5 ± 0.3b 1.5 ± 0.5b 0.0 ± 0.0a 0.6 ± 0.3a 0.6 ± 0.3a 0.2 ± 0.2b 0.7 ± 0.3b 0.9 ± 0.4b 0.3 ± 0.2a 0.2 ± 0.1a 0.5 ± 0.2a
  Ferrous Sulphate 6.3 ± 1.3a 1.3 ± 0.3ab 5.0 ± 1.2a 0.1 ± 0.1a 1.4 ± 0.5a 1.5 ± 0.5a 0.7 ± 0.3ab 2.8 ± 0.9ab 3.5 ± 1.1a 0.5 ± 0.3a 0.8 ± 0.4a 1.3 ± 0.5a
Spearman’s rank correlation
  Soil pH 0.616 0.470 0.528 0.447 0.477 0.528 0.375
  Soil Al −0.380 −0.394 −0.504
  Soil Ca 0.490 0.450 0.378 0.548 0.526 0.607
  Soil Cu −0.366
  Soil Fe 0.401
  Soil K −0.533 −0.532
  Soil Mg 0.415 0.381 0.382
  Soil Mn 0.370 0.419 0.549 0.634
  Soil P 0.423 0.464 0.454 0.402
  Soil C 0.335
  Shoot biomass −0.365
  Plant Tissue Al −0.383
  Plant Tissue Ca 0.529 0.460 0.457 0.588 0.479 0.564
  Plant Tissue Cu 0.435
  Plant Tissue Mg 0.387
  Plant Tissue Mn −0.448 −0.492 −0.418 −0.420
  Plant Tissue S 0.465 0.354 0.441
  1. Spearman’s rank order correlations were calculated for all plant biomass, plant and soil chemistry variables against earthworm abundance but only variables that have a significant correlation (p < 0.05) are shown