POSTPONED: PLEASE CHECK YOUR EMAIL: Earthworms have long been hailed as a friend of the gardener, but nearly all earthworms in New England are introduced from Europe and Asia. While some species of earthworms are beneficial, the introduction of invasive earthworms has caused major shifts in North American plant communities. Jumping worms, alternatively known as pheretimoid earthworms, crazy worms, snake worms and Alabama jumpers, are an emerging conservation threat to a broad suite of native taxa, habitats, industries, hobbies, and vital ecosystem services. These earthworms in the family Megascolecidae originate in Asia, while the more widespread European species are in the family Lumbricidae. Jumping worms alter the structure and chemistry of the soil dramatically, and can damage lawns, landscapes and forest habitat. This talk will explore the impacts and invasion history of earthworms, and provide information on identification of jumping worms. A recording will be available for registered participants.
Dr. Annise Dobson grew up on a farm in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada. After completing her PhD at Cornell University, she began a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of the Environment. Her research focuses on the impacts of jumping worms, white tailed deer and other stressors to native plant communities in Northeastern Canada and the United States. Currently, she is working to identify the movement of jumping worms through New York City, and assessing their impacts on urban plant communities.