Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Ready, set, go: community science field campaign reveals habitat preferences of nonnative Asian earthworms in an urban landscape.

Abstract

Asian pheretimoid earthworms of the genera Amynthas and Metaphire (jumping worms) are leading a new wave of coinvasion into Northeastern and Midwestern states, with potential consequences for native organisms and ecosystem processes. However, little is known about their distribution, abundance, and habitat preferences in urban landscapes-areas that will likely influence their range expansion via human-driven spread. We led a participatory field campaign to assess jumping worm distribution and abundance in Madison, Wisconsin, in the United States. By compressing 250 person-hours of sampling effort into a single day, we quantified the presence and abundance of three jumping worm species across different land-cover types (forest, grassland, open space, and residential lawns and gardens), finding that urban green spaces differed in invasibility. We show that community science can be powerful for researching invasive species while engaging the public in conservation. This approach was particularly effective in the present study, where broad spatial sampling was required within a short temporal window.