Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Occurrence of Exotic and Native Earthworms in Residential Compost Bins

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Darlene Panvini

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


While earthworms are an essential aspect of indigenous terrestrial ecosystems, they can also play a key role in compost bins. Earthworms and their eggs can enter open compost bins directly or indirectly through organic matter added to bins. This research examines the diversity of earthworm species in residential compost bins, specifically noting the distribution of exotic and native species of Oligochaeta. Earthworms were extracted from compost bins in different locations in Nashville, Tennessee. After extraction, the worms were placed in ethanol and DNA barcoding was used to identify the species of earthworms present in the bins. The hypothesis is that compost bins will contain more exotic than native species of earthworms and that the occurrence of worms will be related to compost temperature and moisture. The introduction of exotic species into native habitats creates competition with native species and changes biotic processes, including those in compost bins.

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