Presentation on theme: "Effects of Moisture on the amount of worm colonies found on UFV soil Cody Williems-Kutz, John Konyk, & Elizabeth Wenting Introduction: Invasive species."— Presentation transcript:
Effects of Moisture on the amount of worm colonies found on UFV soil Cody Williems-Kutz, John Konyk, & Elizabeth Wenting Introduction: Invasive species of earthworms have a severely negative impact on the soil system that has developed. Invasive species of worms burrow through the layers of soil, slowly mixing all the separated layers of soil our costal rainforests thrive upon. While doing this, the worms also leech various nutrients out of the soil, making it difficult for other organisms to grow and flourish. Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous are just a few examples. These worms also eat the seeds and the litter layer. Seeds being eaten and broken down prevent proper distribution and replenishment of forest biomass over time. The litter layer being degraded also contributes to the loss of nutrients, as this layer will no longer decompose and replenish nutrients in the top layer of the soil. This rapid consumption of the top layer also removes a protective layering from the soil, losing insulation in the winter, and desecration of the soil in the summer. Our research looks to link soil moisture with concentration of invasive worms present in a soil sample Methods and Materials: -mustard-water mixture -measuring device -solution container and applicator -Moisture meter PM Digital Camera -70% ethanol solution -Dissecting microscope Mustard powder is a chemical agent that makes worms surface. Using this, we can see how many are in any given area, and what species are present. We took ~4L of water mixed with 50g mustard powder and dispersed this over a marked plot of 20cm by 20cm in two applications. We then collected all the worms that surfaced until two minutes went by with no specimens surfacing. We applied a second dose and repeated, to ensure all specimens were collected. We took our data back to the lab and attempted to identify the specimens collected Data Analysis: Plot 1: Moisture level 1 Canopy cover: 95% -Douglas fir Shrub Cover: 50% -elderberry, Indian plum, fake rhododendron Herb layer: 7% -bleeding hart, dandelion Litter layer: 1cm -Fir needles Plot 2: Moisture level 6 Canopy cover: 100% -Douglas Fir Shrub layer: 30% -elderberry -blackberry Herb Layer: 5% -moss, ivy, clover, grass Littler layer: 5cm -leaves, sticks, pine needles Plot 3: Moisture level 9 Canopy Cover: 12% -Alder, Willow, Cedar, Birch. Shrub layer: -Salmonberry, elderberry Herb Layer -moss, sprouting salmonberry, pussy willow Litter layer -leaves and organic material Discussion: The abundance of juveniles found within all the plots shows that they are born everywhere. We attributed this to a moist environment developed by the melting of the winter snow, which would have made soil relatively similar in moistness everywhere during the first part of spring. The adult species were found within the wet soils, which showed that adults prefer a wet environment. This makes sense when considering their body composition. The wet plot yielded interesting results because the soil was saturated in water, and practically flooding, so we expected to see less diversity, to the point of expecting no specimens. Instead we saw a large amount of biodiversity as well as an increased number of specimens found. Also. All native species were found within site B, and an invasive species was found within site C. Regardless, our experiments proved the presence B. parrus, an invasive worm on UFV soil. All sights had soil disturbance from when the university was built. Fig.1: Sample of juveniles collected at sight 1 Figure 2: Mustard application to site 2 Figure 3: Specimen collection at site 3 Errors: Due to the length of time given to complete this assignment, a small sample size was used. Because of this, concrete conclusions cannot be gathered from this, but rather a general pattern can be drawn. The season may have had a negative result on our data, as a long winter left the sights cold and most of the worms were unidentifiable juveniles. The sites chosen were chosen based on relative moistness, but factors like canopy cover, plant and tree biomass amount and diversity, soil pH and several other factors were not kept constant. Because of this our data may have some experimental error with regards to the effects these external factors may have had on worm population. The site measured was incredibly small, 20cm by 20cm, and could have been increased to remove experimental errors regarding where the worms came from, whether it was in our site or not. Conclusions and Recommendations: Invasive worms have been confirmed to the presence of the UFV-Abbotsford campus. Further investigation is required to look at the degree of infestation at UFV, as well as the source of these invasive species. Research can be done at the other sister campuses to identify if the issue is introduced by a contractor. Further research is required to find a suitable treatment for this issue. We propose that systematic spraying of the campus with a mustard water compound in the mornings to draw out the worm specimens. The natural order of bird-worm interaction would, over time reduce the worm population to a very limited number. Then, we could reintroduce native worm species back into the soil. This solution could double as a means to introduce a new set of bird ecology courses, as the increased worms on the surface would recruit new bird species to the campus.