Alberta scientists track earthworm invasion

Screen grab from Google Earth which shows reported earthworm sightings in Alberta.

Screen grab from Google Earth which shows reported earthworm sightings in Alberta.

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:20 PM ET

EDMONTON — Alberta has a worm invasion that's enough to give one tremors.

Earthworms didn't get to Alberta naturally, and now researchers at the University of Alberta hope to track the locations of those little pink wiggling invaders to limit their populations.

Researchers at the school'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, and wrangle them up.

The citizen science project is part of a larger collaboration to learn about the impact that earthworms 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.


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