WormWatch is getting the dirt on earthworms

Image of a worm in a hand.What is WormWatch?

A boy holding a worm WormWatch is a science-based education program that makes learning about the soil ecosystem fun. It is a part of NatureWatch, a national volunteer monitoring program used to identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment. Our site will:

  • Describe the importance of worms as an indicator of soil biodiversity
  • Introduce you to worm anatomy and ecology
  • Provide tools and resources to enable you to identify and monitor worms

When we are standing on the ground, we are really standing on the rooftop of another world. Living in the soil are plant roots, viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, amoebae, protozoa, mites, nematodes, worms, ants, beetles, insect larvae (grubs and maggots), and larger animals. Soil is a habitat: let the WormWatch earthworms lead you through the maze of micro-and macro-pores that are the soil’s super-highways. WormWatch site has specific projects that invite participants to collect data on earthworm species and habitats. We invite all Canadians to participate in sampling and identifying earthworms.


Why monitor worms?

The WormWatch National Earthworm Survey will help scientists determine how many earthworm species are in Canada and where they live.

This information is important. The number of worms in a specific volume of earth can tell us a lot about how the habitat is being managed, because earthworms are very sensitive to soil disturbance. Learning more about the distribution of earthworm species can be used to help improve soil health and reclaim degraded sites. Gardeners, naturalists, farmers, schoolchildren, everyone can participate in WormWatch. We will use the data that you collect to create a Canadian database of earthworm species and habitat distribution. We can’t see the big picture without you!

Currently, 25 different earthworm species have been found and identified in Canada. Perhaps with your help we can find more!