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1 June 2017 Ecological Predictors and Consequences of Non-Native Earthworms in Kennebec County, Maine
Julia A. Rogers, Cathy D. Collins
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Non-native earthworms are found throughout much of the United States and southern Canada in areas glaciated during the most recent glaciation. Following invasion, these earthworms altered nutrient cycling, soil structure, and diversity in forests throughout the northern United States. There are no comprehensive studies of earthworm distributions in forested areas of Maine. We surveyed earthworms in forested recreation areas in Kennebec County, ME, and investigated ecological and landscape attributes that may predict their presence. To examine whether the presence of worms modifies forests, we measured environmental variables known from other studies to be affected by worms. We found earthworms at 12 out of 23 sites. Sample sites near roads, in deciduous forests, and in small forests were more likely to have earthworms. We also found that locations with worms have less surface litter and more soil phosphorous, suggesting that earthworms modify soils in Maine forests. Our study is the first to explore the distribution of earthworms in natural forests in Maine, and our findings provide evidence that roads facilitate earthworm invasion, with measurable consequences for soil properties.

Julia A. Rogers and Cathy D. Collins "Ecological Predictors and Consequences of Non-Native Earthworms in Kennebec County, Maine," Northeastern Naturalist 24(2), 121-136, (1 June 2017).
Published: 1 June 2017
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