Comments on: Great Lakes Worm Watch http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/ from the Ecological Society of America. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:50:37 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 By: Great Lakes Worm Watch http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-42822 Wed, 27 Mar 2013 20:20:28 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-42822 Donald I would be happy to share the location data that we have collected over the past decade. Send an email to greatlakeswormwatch@gmail.com

We are currently working on getting the data into interactive maps…the following link is to a beta map on earthworm impacts in Northern Mn http://bit.ly/YstIcE …the large red circles relate to areas that are heavily impacted by earthworms (5-7 different species) and have no O layers (Oi, Oe, Oa) and if they do have Oi it is the leaf drop from the previous fall.

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By: Liza Lester http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-42776 Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:43:41 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-42776 Great Lakes Worm Watch has a publication list. Peter Groffman at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies has an interest in earthworms and provides an extensive bibliography with a focus on New York State. Precise locations are included in the methods – whether you would consider the effects they describe as “devastating” is not something I can judge.

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By: Donald Prettyman http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-42774 Tue, 26 Mar 2013 23:35:02 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-42774 A biophysical project in northern Minnesota inventoried 4907 stratfied random 1/5th acre fixed radius plots. At each plot the presence or absence of earthworms was recorded along with identification of all plant species, structure of plant community (7 components), detailed root zone properties to depth of 5 feet, evidence of historical events and comphrensive aray of landscape properties. Based on those plots, 84 to 90 percent had no earthowrms presenct or evidence of their activity. In the 10 to 16 percent of plots with earthworms and based on basic analysis, there were no results that demonstrated and adverse impact on forb, shrubs or tree species or the morphology of plant communities. Of further interest, in the heart of the corn belt, a forest of 225 to 370 year old mixed oak, hickory, scymore, black locust, redbud and several other species, similar observations as previously described have resulted in no evidence of adverse impact of earthworms on plants. Another experience in the U.P. of Michigan, I inventoried over a 100,000 acres of forestland and did not observe any adverse impact of earthworms on plants. Without exception, all samples contained litter layers (L, F and H). Consequently, based on all of that information, a list of precise locations devasted forest in the United States of America by earthworms is of paramount interest to me. Such a list would be greatly appreciated. Please Email any and all available lists.

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By: bill http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-37483 Wed, 06 Jun 2012 16:44:25 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-37483 there are fossil records of earthworms in north america

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By: Cindy Hale http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-36106 Fri, 09 Mar 2012 16:30:44 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-36106 Wow, Matt seems to have a chip on his shoulder.

You are correct that earthworms do not have the cognitive capacity to plan and execute an intentional trans-continental trip in the hold of ships. But I think you give children and people in general less credit than is due them when you suggest they are incapable of appropriately interpreting the meaning of the terminology used. If you would care to suggest better terminology, we’d be happy to hear it, but I suspect the real motivation behind your complaint lays elsewhere.

Yes, species move around geographically across the globe, have been since the beginning of life and will continue to do so as long as the earth remains habitable for life as we know it. However, to suggest that this phenonemon, that naturally occurs on a geological time scale (thousands to millions of years) means that the issue of invasive species is “irrelevant to ecology” and “based on our feelings about them” is, to use your words, irresponsible. It either reflects a deep ignorance of the issue or a disregard for truth.

Invasive species are a huge problem facing natural and human dominated ecosystems, costing us billions annually in lost crops and damage to ecosystem across this continent and globally. This is not my opinion, but well documented, research-based conclusions made over decades by researchers; and experienced every day by people in all walks of life. Talked to a soybean farmer or a cherry grower lately? The major threats they face are not due to natural spread of species across the globe but to the rapid appearrance of destructive, non-native species, that lack any natural controls as a direct result of intentional or unintentional human activities.

The issue is not simply due to the geographic relocation of species through natural processes and over evolutionary time frames, but rather; one created by human activities which have fundamentally increased the rate of relocations(years or decades) and the number of relocations (I’d have to look at the research literature to get an accurate number, maybe you’d like to do that too?)

Yes, yes, humans are a “natural” part of the global system. But the threat is really not to the “Earth” (it will continue to go along just fine)so much as to our own survival as a species. We are very clever, and may yet find a way out of the mess we have created for ourselves, but in the process many people will suffer. If that’s OK with you then don’t worry about it.

However, “reflexively declaring that” because there are a few species where “anthropochory is not only a normal mode of dispersal, but (for some taxa) a very typical one” , we should take no responsibility for the consequences of our actions is…simply irresponsible.

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By: Ryan Hueffmeier http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-36104 Thu, 08 Mar 2012 19:58:21 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-36104 Not only does Great Lakes Worm Watch want to know about the distribution of the European species of non-native earthworms spreading across the Great Lakes Region. We are also very interested in knowing the distribution of a relatively new suite of Asian earthworms known as Amynthas. This species is not as widely established as the European species and through education and outreach we hope to slow the spread if not stop new introductions all together. As most invasive species specialist will tell you “the best way to deal with an invasive species is not to introduce it in the first place.”

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By: Matt Chew http://www.esa.org/esablog/research/citizen-science/great-lakes-worm-watch/comment-page-1/#comment-36103 Thu, 08 Mar 2012 03:12:57 +0000 http://www.esa.org/esablog/?p=6924#comment-36103 Researchers who “suspect the worms hitchhiked across the Atlantic in the ballast of ships and the root balls of imported shrubs” either don’t understand hitchhiking or they attribute worms with significant capacity to plan and execute a multi-stage trans- and inter-continental itinerary (nor, for the record, can worms “stow away.”)

Suggesting to children that worms “hitchhike” and “invade” is inaccurate and irresponsible. Such terms are irremediably, pejoratively loaded and therefore actively misleading. It would be metaphorically more apt to say earthworms transported from Europe by people were abductees who became castaways, and then founders of colonies. It’s no sillier than saying they hitchhiked and invaded. But it’s no more appropriate, either.

Reflexively declaring that some biogeographical events should not have occurred might feel cathartic but it is irrelevant to ecology. We should stop categorizing phenomena based on our feelings about them and figure out if it’s possible to do some science in the real world, where anthropochory is not only a normal mode of dispersal, but (for some taxa) a very typical one.

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