Management & Monitoring of Earthworms and Soil Microbes on New Zealand Dairy Farms to Increase Farming Efficiency and Ecosystem Services: Roles of organic farming, irrigation, and effluent dispersal
Bonface Manono began work on his PhD within the Environmental Objective of the Agricultural Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS) project in February 2011. His project aims to link earthworm and microbial communities with soil processes, by trying to understand their roles in ecosystem functioning.
This study aims to determine the relative importance of earthworm and microbe communities versus abiotic inputs (in this case, organic amendments, nitrogenous fertilizer, irrigation water, and effluent) in controlling nutrient cycles and ecosystem responses. He intends to come up with a quantitative link between measures of earthworm and microbial community characteristics and ecosystem processes in New Zealand dairy farming systems.
It is anticipated that the project will culminate into a thesis, as well as publications, with a quantitative framework for linking earthworm and microbial characteristics with nutrient cycles, and a model for monitoring and gauging the importance of the two biotic groups in this particular case study.