Earthworms have invaded the great lakes region and had large effects on the areas ecosystems. It may be too late to completely remove them but we can still study where and what kinds are present to better understand the effects they have.
It’s a sunny June day at WCC as we walk out to collect some worms. Bugs dive bomb us along the trail so we run like soldiers getting to cover. We get to the trail and lay out our transect using our improvised measuring tape. Then we lay out our plots and flood the earth with our irritating mustard solution. Worms begin to scramble to the surface desperate to escape the viscous liquid. As the worm surface to glorious freedom from their torture we identify whether they’re the small-sized, dark surface dwellers, the lighter soil dwellers, or the massive deep burrowing night crawlers. The biggest of the night crawlers leave thick mucus trails all along the ground as they quickly escape the mustard plot. While some of the smallest surface dwellers are hardly noticed as their tiny bodies emerge from the ground.The variety of worms are counted and recorded at the differing sites of the pinewoods and hardwoods. The pie graphs display the percentages of the types of worms at each location. Blue represents the soil dwellers, yellow the surface dwellers, and red the night crawlers. Looking at the data there seems to be a clear difference in the results. A possible explanation for the larger amount of surface dwellers in the pinewoods is this the thick litter of pine needles present that these worms tend to be found in. The larger variety in the hardwoods could also be because of the variety of life that populates those woods where as the pinewoods have much less variety.