JWORM Working Group

Jumping Worm Outreach, Research, & Management

NYISRI frequently works in a “connector” capacity, bringing together researchers, managers, and other professionals to create working groups on priority topics. When it came to jumping worms– invasive earthworms from Asia that threaten forest structure and lawns alike by consuming soil organic matter, disrupting soil structure and nutrient cycling– we jumped at the chance to create a working group centered on Jumping Worm Outreach, Research, and Management (JWORM). With our stakeholder’s high interest in this topic, we brought together researchers from the Northeast and Midwest.

Current Projects

With much unknown about these species, the group works to identify knowledge gaps and set priorities for future research projects. Ideas include understanding how these worms disperse to new locations, and the impacts that they have once they establish. Further study is particularly needed to understand if certain plants are resilient to jumping worm presence, and how jumping worm impacts soil carbon storage and turfgrass growth.

As of 2022, the group has begun a project to better understand the extent and effects of invasion by jumping worms in forests of the Northeast. This project has three objectives: (1) to better know the extent of the invasion and work with collaborators to detect new populations quickly, (2) to understand the factors that lead to forest incursion by jumping worms, and (3) to better understand the negative effects that these species have on forest-floor food webs and nutrient dynamics. Field Work is ongoing in the Adirondacks and northern Vermont, and collaborators are monitoring jumping worms in New Hampshire and Maine. This project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.

The group is also working to raise awareness of the invasive jumping worm (Amynthas & Metaphire sp.) to homeowners, garden clubs, and the horticulture trade. Since there are no current effective control measures for jumping worms once established, the group emphasizes the need to prevent introductions. Creating checklists outlining preventative actions (cleaning garden tools, heating soil, etc.) to empower gardeners and other stakeholders to reduce their spread is one important initiative of the group.

The JWORM Working Group:

  • Annise Dobson, Postdoctoral Researcher, Yale University
  • Andrea Davalos, Assistant Professor, SUNY Cortland
  • Brad Herrick, Ecologist & Research Program Manager, UW Madison Arboretum
  • Timothy McCay, Professor, Colgate University
  • Kyle Wickings, Associate Professor, Cornell University
  • Carrie Brown-Lima, Director, NYISRI
  • Audrey Bowe, Project Coordinator, NYISRI