A new Mountain Lake PBS segment features the research of Colgate biology professor Tim McCay and four students who spent the summer studying invasive earthworms and their impact on native species in the Adirondacks.
“Its mission, to boldly go where few, if any, worm researchers have gone before; to seek out and identify earthworms of all kinds, wherever the professor and his intrepid students can find them,” said PBS host Ed Kanze.
McCay explains that the research is part of a collaborative study with 20 schools in eastern North America, sampling earthworms in different habitats, looking at the characteristics of each habitat, and then doing an analysis of the factors that may be limiting the spread of certain earthworm species.
Zachary Cardell ’15 , Hailey Elder ’16, Nga Nguyen ‘15, and Eric Moore ’15, are seen in the PBS footage and are recognized for their efforts in the field.
“The students brave mosquitoes, deer flies, and plenty of dirt in order to catch earthworms, and then back at Colgate use microscopes to study the fine points of the animals captured,” Kanze said.
“Earthworm dispersal is really poorly understood. Almost nobody has studied it,” McCay said. “There have been no large studies of earthworms of the Adirondacks to date.”