Project Overview

Invasion of the Northeast by pheretimoid jumping worms

Faculty Sponsor

Tim McCay (


Environmental Studies


The northeastern United States is currently being invaded by a set of three pheretimoid earthworms in the Megascolecidae, known as jumping worms. Limited evidence suggests that these earthworms may have stronger negative consequences for natural, forested ecosystems than European lumbricid earthworms that have been established in the region for many years. This project aims to better understand the human systems that are facilitating the spread of jumping worms and the negative consequences of that spread. It will involve exploratory fieldwork in NY (Central NY and the Adirondacks), NH (White Mountains), and VT (Green Mountains), and laboratory studies into behaviors and environmental tolerances of these species. It will further involve plot scale studies in central New York of demographic characteristics to enable the construction of a model predictive of population dynamics.

Student Qualifications

Interest in both field and computer work; course work in ecology is highly desired; a van license will be required (can be applied for later); ability to work independently in the field.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (