Albertans urged to wrangle their worms this summer: UAlberta research team

A University of Alberta research team has some simple advice for Albertans bound for the lake, campground or remote areas


A University of Alberta research team has some simple advice for Albertans bound for the lake, campground or remote areas this summer: wrangle your worms.

Researchers from the U of A’s faculties of science and education have teamed up to create the Alberta Worm Invasion Tracker, an online resource and mobile app that allows the public to record worm locations as they’re discovered.

The citizen science project is part of a larger collaboration to learn about the impact that earthworms — an invasive species in Alberta — have on the environment and their distribution patterns across the province.

“In agriculture and gardens, worms are obviously quite useful because they mix up the soil and increase aeration, but in forests in most of Canada and the northern United States, they’re an invasive species,” said biologist Erin Cameron, a U of A alumna who started studying earthworm populations as a graduate student under the supervision of Erin Bayne.

“When they consume the forest leaf litter layer and mix it with the lower mineral soil, that can have negative effects on native species that rely on a thick forest floor.”

The earthworms’ northern migration is largely the result of human interference and activities such as fishing, boating and camping. Earthworms that don’t end up on a fishing hook often end up discarded in the wilderness or in the water. Worms and worm cocoons also hitchhike their way into the wild, sticking to tire treads or wheel wells before ending up in the forest.

Outdoor adventurers are encouraged to wrangle their worms and log worm encounters — the first in what the U of A team hopes are many successful partnerships that build a bridge between scientists, educators, students and the general public.

“This issue of invasive species gets at so many ecological concepts, this provides really good context for teachers to be engaged in the project and address some of those concepts in their curriculum,” says Jerine Pegg, an assistant professor of elementary education with a strong interest in scientist-teacher partnerships.


Just Posted

Town of Sylvan Lake passes 2019 tax rate, estimates education tax

Sylvan Lake and all municipalities have been left without an education tax from the Province

Town of Sylvan Lake to replace old water meters to streamline monthly billing

Town Council also approved replacing old water meters to the current technology

Drivers reminded impairment and driving don’t mix

National Road Safety Week May 14 to 20

Former Sylvan Lake resident launches latest book

Talena Winters will launch her book at the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library on Friday

Sylvan Lake bans use of charcoal barbecues in Town parks

Visitors and residents picnicking in Sylvan Lake are asked to leave the charcoal barbecues at home

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Growing wildfire prompts warning for High Level to prepare for evacuation

Town of High Level announced Monday that residents should get personal items in order

Carbon tax, desk-thumping on agenda in upcoming Alberta legislature session

Jason Kenney has appointed a panel to come up with ways to reduce spending in the budget this fall

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Authorities warn out-of-control wildfire could cut northern Alberta town’s electricity

Alberta Transportation has closed Highway 35 south of High Level due to the fire

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

Those against Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aren’t worried about promise to fight critics of energy industry

Almost $13 million to be paid to Grande Prairie hospital subcontractors, others

No reasons for the Court of Queen’s Bench order were released

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

Two female passengers in the Corolla, aged 31 and 65, died at the scene

Most Read