How earthworms harm ecosystems: UTM study

earthworm on the ground
Friday, May 6, 2016 - 7:54am

There’s a wriggling invader beneath your feet and it’s steadily, silently nibbling away at forest diversity. New field research from U of T Mississauga shows for the first time that invasive earthworms are eating forest seed species such as yellow birch and black cherry trees. The findings suggest that earthworms may have a greater impact on the success of forest seedlings than previously suspected.

UTM evolutionary biologist Peter Kotanen studies seed ecology and biological invasions. He says that earthworms have long played an “underappreciated” role as seed predators.

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