Project Overview

Study of Native and Exotic Earthworms in the Northeast

Faculty Sponsor

Tim McCay (


Environmental Studies


Earthworm communities in the Northeast consist of a combination of native and invasive species. Native species exist largely in wetland habitats; whereas invasive species dominate upland forests. Currently, scientists poorly understand the distribution of native species and whether they might suffer increased competition from the most recent wave of invasive earthworms in the family Megascolecidae (jumping worms). This project involves extensive survey work throughtout the Northeast (New York and New England) along with study of habitats. Students on this project will split their time between surveys of wetland habitats for native species and a detailed survey of invasive earthworms at a natural area in Vermont. Thus, extensive travel and time away from Hamilton will be required. Accomodations will be rustic (camping or similar). Work in the lab will focus on earthworm identification and data analysis.

Student Qualifications

Students must be capable of careful field sampling and observations. Early morning field work will be required. Students must be comfortable with field work under adverse conditions. Course work in biology is prefered, but not required. An interest in nature and animals is essential. A Colgate van license is required.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (