Survey of invasive earthworms

Project Description:
Ontario has no native earthworm species; instead, all of our worms are invaders from Eurasia. Earthworms can have beneficial effects in agricultural systems, but worms in Great Lakes region forests are believed to have a number of seriously negative effects, including disruption of natural soil structure, elimination of many native wildflowers and seedlings of forest trees, and possibly increasing the spread of other invasive species such as garlic mustard. Despite these risks, almost no research has been conducted on earthworm impacts in Ontario. We intend to survey worm populations at KSR to determine the extent to which the forest has been invaded. As well, we will survey vegetation in areas with and without worms, to assess whether negative effects on native plants and positive effects on exotic plants may be occurring.

Principal Investigator: 

Peter M. Kotanen, Biology, University of Toronto at Mississauga

Other Investigators:
: Saba Haroon, Biology, University of Toronto at Mississauga
Diane Krajewski, Biology, University of Toronto at Mississauga

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