There are 29 species of earthworm living freely in soils in the UK. They are vital to the economic health of our country, as they are crucial for soil health, food production, waste decomposition and even flood mitigation.
This weekend course will provide an introduction to earthworms as a group, their natural history, how to collect them and how to identify them to species level using microscopes.
The course will be a mixture of classroom sessions and lab practicals (World Museum) and fieldwork (Chester Zoo Nature Reserve). The course is suitable for those with an interest in earthworms, and no experience of microscopes or earthworm identification is necessary.
By the end of the weekend participants will:
• Have learnt about the natural history and different ecological roles of earthworms
• Have had experience of field methods for collecting earthworms
• Be able to use keys and microscopes to confirm earthworm species identification
• Know how to record earthworms to the standards of the national recording scheme.
Please note that this course will involve collecting, preserving and killing earthworm specimens to identify in the lab and generate a site species list.
Keiron Derek Brown first became interested in invertebrates during a field-based entomology module at university and went on to volunteer on soil biodiversity research projects at the Natural History Museum (London). This included sorting samples of invertebrates to order level and sampling invertebrates across the New Forest in Hampshire and the Malaysian rainforests of Borneo.
Keiron developed and manages the FSC BioLinks project, with the aim of inspiring amateur naturalists to take up the identification and recording of invertebrate groups that are often forgotten and rarely recorded. In his spare time he is the Chair of the Ecology & Entomology Section of the London Natural History Society and is the national recorder for earthworms (running the National Earthworm Recording Scheme on behalf of the ESB).
Sat 19 Mar - Chester Zoo Nature Reserve
Sun 20 Mar - World Museum
World Museum - There are lifts between each of the floors and assistance dogs are permitted.
Chester Zoo Nature Reserve - There are good (grassy) footpaths suitable for wheelchairs around much of the reserve.