Earthworm Data

It is the aim of the Earthworm Society of Britain to increase our understanding of earthworms in the UK and the ecological impact that these animals have on their environment. This involves ensuring that earthworm records are shared widely and are available for other potential data users to put the data collected by earthworm recorders and research institutions to good use. So, exactly what happens to earthworm records after they have been submitted to the ESB or iRecord?

data flow diagramJourney of an earthworm record

Processing Records are processed and subjected to NERS verification protocols. Where necessary, queries are sent to recorders. Records that are processed through iRecord are then available for both the Earthworm Society of Britain and the relevant Local Environmental Records Centre to download.

Collation Records are added to the relevant dataset. The following datasets are currently managed by the ESB:

  1. Earthworm Research Group (UCLan) earthworm records (Great Britain)
  2. Environment Agency Eiseniella tetraedra records (England)
  3. Forest Research Earthworm Records (England)
  4. National Earthworm Recording Scheme records (Channel Islands)
  5. National Earthworm Recording Scheme records (Great Britain)
  6. National Earthworm Recording Scheme records (N. Ireland)
  7. Soil Biodiversity Group (NHM) earthworm records (Great Britain)

Dissemination The ESB then shares these records:

  • Locally by emailing all earthworm records to all of the Local Environmental Records Centres in the UK on an annual basis.
  • Nationally through bi-annual uploads of ESB datasets to the NBN Atlas
  • Internationally by allowing the NBN to also make our earthworm datasets available through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Open Data Agreement for Earthworm Records

The Earthworm Society of Britain (ESB) actively encourages the use of our data and hope that it can be used to further the current understanding of earthworms, both nationally and internationally. We are always interested to hear about how others have used our data (whether for use in science, sociology, art or anything else) and are glad to have produced a resource that is being put to use.

We ask all our data suppliers to read the information below and only submit records to the ESB if they are happy with the data sharing policy outlined.

Access to ESB earthworm records

NBN Data Sharing Badge 2016The ESB has an open data policy, allowing open access to our earthworm records with no constraints to the use of the data and ensuring records are available at the full resolution they are accepted at.

This is achieved through the submission of our databases to the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas. As a Data Sharing Partner of the NBN, the ESB is committed to ensuring this data set is updated on a regular basis (and no less than twice per year).

Datasets that are managed by the ESB can be found through the Data Partner webpage for the ESB on the NBN Atlas:

Furthermore, we allow our records to be made available through:

  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility (an international open data infrastructure, funded by governments) in accordance with their vision: "A world in which biodiversity information is freely and universally available for science, society and a sustainable future."
  • Local Environmental Records Centres (LERCs) (regional not-for-profit organisations that collect, collate and manage information on the natural environment for a defined geographic area). ESB data is submitted to LERCs annually, though no formal data sharing agreements exist.

Licences and attribution

Open license CCBY logoAll data submitted to the Earthworm Society of Britain is assigned a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence as it is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

It allows others to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially.
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially

(The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.)

Under the following terms:

  • Attribution — Users must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • No additional restrictions — Users may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Use of ESB datasets in scientific literature

The following research papers are cited through GBIF as using ESB data:

Developing Standards for Improved Data Quality and for Selecting Fit for Use Biodiversity Data

Chapman, A. Belbin, L. Zermoglio, P. Wieczorek, J. Morris, P. Nicholls, M. R. Rees, E. K. Veiga, A. Tompson, A. M. Saraiva, A. A. James, S. Gendreau, C. Benson, A. Schigel, D. (2020) Biodiversity Information Science and Standards

The quality of biodiversity data publicly accessible via aggregators such as GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), the ALA (Atlas of Living Australia), iDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections), and OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System) is often questioned, especially by the research community. The Data Quality Interest Group, established by Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and GBIF, has been engaged in four main activities: developing a framework for the assessment and management of data quality using a fitness for use approach; defining a core set of standardised tests and associated assertions based on Darwin Core terms; gathering and classifying user stories to form contextual-themed use cases, such as species distribution modelling, agrobiodiversity, and invasive species; and developing a standardised format for building and managing controlled vocabularies of values. Using the developed framework, data quality profiles have been built from use cases to represent user needs. Quality assertions can then be used to filter data suitable for a purpose. The assertions can also be used to provide feedback to data providers and custodians to assist in improving data quality at the source. A case study, using two different implementations of tests and assertions based around the Darwin Core "Event Date" terms, were also tested against GBIF data, to demonstrate that the tests are implementation agnostic, can be run on large aggregated datasets, and can make biodiversity data more fit for typical research uses.

Transitions between biomes are common and directional in Bombacoideae (Malvaceae)

Zizka, A. Carvalho‐Sobrinho, J.G. Pennington, R.T. Queiroz, L.P. Alcantara, S. Baum, D.A. Bacon, C.D. Antonelli, A. (2020) Journal of Biogeography

Aim: To quantify evolutionary transitions between tropical evergreen rain forest and seasonally dry biomes, to test whether biome transitions affect lineage diversification and to examine the robustness of these results to methodological choices. Location: The tropics. Time period: The Cenozoic. Major taxa studied: The plant subfamily Bombacoideae (Malvaceae). Methods: We inferred ancestral biomes based on a fossil‐dated molecular phylogeny of 103 species (59% of the clade) and recorded the number of transitions among biomes using biogeographical stochastic mapping based on the dispersal‐extinction‐cladogenesis model. We then estimated diversification rates using state‐specific speciation and extinction rate (SSE) methods. Furthermore, we tested the sensitivity of the results to model choice, phylogenetic uncertainty, measurement error and biome definition. Results: We found numerous transitions from evergreen rain forest to seasonally dry biomes, and fewer in the opposite direction. These results were robust to methodological choices. Biome type did not influence diversification rates, although this result was subject to uncertainty, especially related to model choice and biome definition. Main conclusions: Our results contradict the idea of evolutionary biome conservatism in Bombacoideae, and support previous findings that evergreen rain forests serve as a source for the flora of seasonally dry biomes. The impact of biome classification and biome definition on the results suggest caution when using a biome concept for biogeographical reconstruction and diversification rate analysis.

Earthworms (Oligochaeta: Lumbricidae) of Interior Alaska 

Booysen, M. Sikes, D. Bowser, M. Andrews, R. (2018) Biodiversity Data Journal

Earthworms in the family Lumbricidae in Alaska, which are known from coastal regions, primarily in south-central and south-eastern Alaska, are thought to be entirely non-native and have been shown to negatively impact previously earthworm-free ecosystems in study regions outside of Alaska. Despite occasional collections by curious citizens, there had not been a standardised earthworm survey performed in Interior Alaska and no published records exist of earthworms species from this region. Mustard extraction was used to sample six locations that differed in elevation, mostly in the College region of Fairbanks, Alaska. Two of the six locations yielded earthworms. There was no relationship between earthworm abundance and elevation (p = 0.087), although our sample size was small. Our sampling, combined with specimens in the University of Alaska Museum, has documented four exotic species and one presumed native species of lumbricid earthworms in Interior Alaska.

Combined multi-gene backbone tree for the genus Coniochaeta with two new species from Uzbekistan


The genus Coniochaeta is an important ascomycete because its members live in diversified habitats and nutritional modes. In this study, two new species, C. acaciae and C. coluteae, are introduced from dead branches of Acacia sp. and Colutea paulsenii Freyn (both Fabaceae) respectively from Uzbekistan, based on morphological and phylogenetic studies. Analyses of combined ITS and LSU sequence data with Genealogical Concordance Phylogenetic Species Recognition (GCPSR) and comparison of similar taxa, provide evidences for placement of these new species in Coniochaeta, as distinct lineages.