Adaptation of the current earthworm field study guideline

Adaptation of the current earthworm field study guideline in order to harmonise field testing and risk evaluation for earthworms

This project has three aims: (1) to compile and critically evaluate standardised earthworm field studies in order to optimise the current test design, (2) to perform a pilot earthworm field study following the improved test design, and (3) to prepare an OECD draft guidance document. After having discussed different design options within the OECD-GSIG expert group on earthworm field studies, an earthworm field study following a modified design (covering different options) was started in spring 2017 at a crop site in Southern Hesse (Germany). First results indicate a very high earthworm density at this site. The activities are performed in close co-operation with OECD, which has included this project in the work plan of the OECD test guidelines programme (Project 2.47: New test guideline on determination of effects on earthworms in field studies). By the end of 2018, a meeting of the OECD-GSIG expert group is envisaged, discussing the outcome of the fieldwork. In the beginning of 2019, OECD is expecting a first draft of the test guideline.