[caption id="attachment_82014" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Researchers at the University of Alberta say earthworms have already crossed the Alberta border heading into the Northwest Territories and may be making inroads into the Yukon. (Wikimedia Commons)
[/caption]Scientists Warn of Northwest Territories Worm Invasion
University of Alberta scientists have expressed concern that earthworms are making their way into Northwest Territories for the first time since the last Ice Age. Earthworms are invertebrate animals that live in the soil and get their nourishment by feeding on both dead and living organic matter. Researchers who are tracking their progress report that they may make it as far as the Yukon, causing untold damage to a variety of plants in the forests there as they burrow through the soil and upset the natural habitat. Canadian scientists have already been studying the effect of earthworms in Minnesota, where their churning of the soil layers there has already resulted in the fear that soon a few of the native plant species will become extinct.
There is already a corps of volunteers aiding biologists to search for earthworm cocoons surrounding campgrounds, boats and roadways along the Alberta border. Cocoons are often unwittingly transported into regions where they don't belong because they attach themselves to truck tires or are present in the bait and tackle boxes used by fishermen. Area fisherman are also being alerted that they should not throw any worms from their bait boxes into any lakes or rivers or even onto the ground.
University of Alberta researchers are also asking the public's help in tracking just how far earthworms are invading the Northwest Territories of Canada. The public is being asked to send data regarding any earthworm sightings, including photographs and exact locations where earthworms or earthworm cocoons have been spotted, by downloading a special Worm Tracker App that is available on iTunes.
Worm Invasion Scientists Warn of Northwest Territories