, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 131-134

Fungal abundance and diversity in earthworm casts and in uningested soil

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Earthworm casts and adjacent uningested soil from 30 different locations were compared to determine the abundance and diversity of fungal species. The casts contained larger fungal populations (g-1 dry soil weight) and numbers of fungal species than the soil. Variations in these parameters between casts and soil were statistically significant (P=0.05). Fungal populations and the number of fungal species in casts and soil also varied significantly (P=0.05) between samples from different locations. A total of 27 fungal species were recorded from the casts and soil. Indices of dominance (0.084 casts; 0.14 soil) and general diversity (2.53 casts; 2.02 soil) demonstrated that the casts displayed more diverse fungal flora than the soil. The diversity of fungal species increased in earthworm casts after passing through the earthworm gut.