Worm Watch? Try Worm Flop


Rainy day near the pond by the WCC Hardwoods

Working in the hot sun and pouring rain for an hour or so can easily frustrate a gal, especially when the results of all her hard work don’t exactly pan out the way she wanted it to. Which in turn, makes getting no results especially aggravating. What could have been a success turned out to be a flop. For the past week a group of four other students and I worked on a field study project. We had to chose two locations on the WCC campus so we choose the Pinewoods and a pond near the Hardwoods as our sites.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As a group we had to calculate the density of worms in those locations. Our hypothesis? There would be a greater density of worms near the pond because of the moisture content of the soil. Which was considerably higher than that of the Pinewoods. Was that the case? Nope.

To extract the worms our technique was to put a square frame that was .25 meters on a plot of land. Once we cleared the square we poured liquid mustard on the soil. This concoction is made up of 2% ground mustard and 98% water. The liquid mustard is an irritant to the worms’ skin  so it causes the worms to, as Mr. Long put it, explode out of the ground. Though it doesn’t really do that.

As we stood outside on that miserable rainy and very wet day almost everybody in my group started to get irritated and grumpy.


So we stand for 30 minutes waiting for the worms to come out. 10 minutes goes by. Nothing. Okay so maybe it has to takes a little more time. 10 more minutes…nothing. By the time went off we had a grand total of…drum roll please…zero worms! We thought “Well maybe it’s just a bad spot”.

So we went to the next plot. And the same thing happened. Zero worms. At this time I’m feeling like a soggy wet mop. “Well shoot” I’m thinking. “At least it won’t be any worse than this”

I was wrong. The next day was soo hot. I swear it was probably one of the hottest days of the year so far. To my dismay we got the same results as we did the day before.

The cause of these results still remain a mystery. Maybe it’s because the soil was too compacted and hard for the worms to move freely in. Maybe it was the fact that the soil was too wet. Or maybe it could have been that the gods decided to show us no mercy. Who knows.

And so our field study wasn’t a worm watch. No. It was a worm flop.