Earthworm communities along an elevation gradient in Northeastern Puerto Rico.
In this study, we describe earthworm communities along an elevation gradient of eight forest types in Northeastern Puerto Rico, and determine whether their abundance, biomass and/or diversity is related to climatic, soil physical/chemical and/or biotic characteristics. We found that the density, biomass, and diversity of worms varied significantly among forest types. The density of earthworms was highest in the Pterocarpus forest. In terms of biomass, both elfin and the Pterocarpus forests had the highest values. The number of earthworm species significantly increased as elevation and annual rainfall increased and air temperature decreased. We conclude that differences in earthworm species richness along this elevation gradient may be due to a combination of biotic and soil physical and chemical factors. Soil pH and root length density are important predictors of number of worm species along this elevation gradient.