According to a new study by an international team of researchers, earthworms could be contributing to global warming.
The study looked at results from 237 separate experiments from published stories to explore earthworms’ role in affecting global warming.
“Our results suggest that although earthworms are largely beneficial to soil fertility, they increase net soil greenhouse-gas emissions,” according to the study’s abstract.
Worms affect how much carbon dioxide is produced in the soil and how much escapes into the atmosphere by altering the physical structure of the soil through burrowing, which makes it more porous. Earthworms interact with microbes in the soil that produce a large chunk of the carbon dioxide emissions.
There are concerns that earthworms increase greenhouse gas emissions, which troubles scientists since earthworm numbers are on the rise.