Although new research is emerging about the effects of exotic earthworm invasions, very little is known about the distributions of earthworm and earthworm species across the region. While this type of distributional information is very valuable, it is very labor intensive and it is difficult for researchers to get funding to do this kind of work. Citizen scientists can help in this effort by conducting earthworm surveys in forests and other habitats in your area and reporting that data to Great Lakes Worm Watch.
The “Join the Research Team” section of the Great Lakes Worm Watch site has information on how to conduct your own earthworm research projects, how to analyze collected data and much more. There is an introduction to each of these sections below or you can click on each the links at the side of the page to get a more detailed information.
Unlike many exotic plant species that can be spread by the wind or animals, earthworms are most definitely spread primarily by human activities. So even simple actions on your part can make a BIG difference when it comes to containing the spread of exotic earthworms!
The Great Lakes Worm Watch has developed a series of standardized studies that you can replicate yourselves! These provide step-by-step instructions on how to collect and report earthworm presence or absence. There are three different types of studies you can pick from, each are slightly different in their methods and requirements.
There are many organizations over the Great Lakes region that already participate in a variety of programs related to exotic earthworms. We have compiled these into a list containing the contact details of nature centers and educational cooperatives all over Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Indiana.
The Great Lakes Worm Watch runs training workshops periodically throughout the year for formal and non-formal educators at different locations across the region. As well there is also information on volunteer opportunities and seminars to help the public get involved in learn about earthworm invasions.
We try to provide as much content as possible to provide all the information you need to get involved with Earthworm research, but occasionally people have additional questions. We have compiled a list of commonly asked questions to answer some frequent queries.
Alternatively, if these do not provide you with an answer to your questions you can email us at GreatLakesWormwatch@gmail.com
Often people want to take part in a Great Lakes Worm Watch study as part of educational projects and want to analyze their data in some way. We have provided guides on calculate species diversity, biomass and density.