Jumping worms in Minnesota
Lee Frelich, Forest Resources
Jumping worms are a group of invasive earthworms (Amynthas spp.) known for their leaping, snake-like movement. They live and feed in the upper leaf litter layer of soil, often dramatically damaging its quality and nutrient content. For this reason, jumping worms can trigger erosion, threaten plant growth and decrease soil community biodiversity.
Jumping worms have made their way across North America through composting, the fishing bait trade and by movement of potted plants and mulch. Minnesota is still in the early stages of invasion. This project will enlist citizen scientists in the Duluth, Rochester and Twin Cities metro areas to learn how jumping worms are spreading in our region and how they might best be controlled. Researchers will create a Best Management Practice guide for jumping worm infestations in Minnesota.
How do jumping worms spread in Minnesota?
Does temperature limit where jumping worms could spread in Minnesota?
Is commercial earthworm treatment effective for jumping worms?
What are the best management practices for jumping worms in Minnesota?
The results of this work will help state regulators develop best practices to prevent the wider spread of jumping worms in Minnesota. Best management practices will also inform major industry partners like the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association
Lee Frelich, principal investigator, Department of Forest Resources
Kyungsoo Yoo, co-principal investigator, Department of Soil, Water and Climate
Ryan Hueffmeier, co-principal investigator, Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center at UMD
Stephan Carlson, co-principal investigator, Department of Forest Resources
Caleb Weiers, outreach coordinator, UMD
Tyler Baumann, assistant scientist, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
Erin Buchholz, collaborator, Minnesota Landcape Arboretum
Angie Gupta, collaborator, University of Minnesota Extension
Related News & Publications
- "Getting their hands dirty: University of Minnesota digs into worm research" Minnesota Daily. (Oct. 2020)
- "DNR warns Minnesotans about spread of invasive 'jumping worms'" Star Tribune. (Sept. 2020)
- "Invasive 'jumping worm' leaps into Minnesota" MPR News. (Aug. 2020)
- Jumping worms project page
- "Grow with KARE: Jumping worms" KARE11. (June 2020)
- "In Defense of Plants: Earthworm Invaders" (Podcast, May 2020)
- "Invasive ‘Jumping’ Worms Are Now Tearing Through Midwestern Forests" Audubon News. (Jan. 2020)
- "Invasive earthworms are burrowing into boreal forests worldwide" Popular Science. (Dec. 2019)
- ''Earthworm dilemma' has climate scientists racing to catch up' New York Times. (May 2019)
- "U of M researchers find earthworms are threatening Minnesota's state flower" KSTP. (July 2019)