The fate of global soil carbon stores in response to predicted climate change is a ‘hotly’ debated topic. Considerable uncertainties remain as to the temperature sensitivity of non-labile soil organic matter (SOM) to decomposition. Currently, models assume that organic matter decomposition is solely controlled by the interaction between climatic conditions and soil mineral characteristics. Consequently, little attention has been paid to adaptive responses of soil decomposer organisms to climate change and their impacts on the turnover of long-standing terrestrial carbon reservoirs. Using a radiocarbon approach we found that warming increased soil invertebrate populations (Enchytraeid worms) leading to a greater turnover of older soil carbon pools. The implication of this finding is that until soil physiology and biology are meaningfully represented in ecosystem carbon models, predictions will underestimate soil carbon turnover.