PhD Oral Defense of Zhor Abail, Natural Resource Sciences
Earthworms contribute to nitrogen (N) cycling in agroecosystems through the direct release of N from their population, and their indirect effects on soil physical, chemical and biological processes. Despite the large body of literature on earthworm ecology, studies that examine the direct role of earthworms on N cycling from the perspective of ecological stoichiometry are lacking. This knowledge gap needs to be addressed, particularly in temperate agroecosystems where earthworms are the dominant soil fauna based on their biomass. This study sought to provide insights into the physiological mechanisms regulating N stoichiometry in earthworm body, to better understand the stoichiometric interaction between earthworms and their food resources at the individual level, and the implications of crop residue quality on earthworm-mediated N dynamics at the agroecosystem level.