One of the main priorities of the ESB is to host the National Earthworm Recording Scheme.
Why record earthworms?
What species of earthworms do we have in Great Britain? Where are they found? Does the vegetation above the soil make a difference to which earthworms you could expect to find somewhere? Recording helps to answer these types of tricky questions, without data we'd be guessing. So is collecting a simple record of a species at a location enough? Records data is very useful for telling us what species of earthworms are found where. However, if they are collected in a more structured way this data can also be very useful for helping us to understand more about their ecology: why they are found in different places, what causes the differences in populations and how they are changing. This can help inform conservation of earthworms, and highlight changes in distributions if recorded over a longer time period and at a wide spatial scale. You can help by surveying and identifying earthworms and sending in your records into the National Earthworm recording Scheme.
Please note that all records submitted to the National Earthworm Recording scheme will be shared responsibly with external organisations, such as Local Biological Records Centres and the National Biodiversity Network. Earthworm records will be made freely available, alongside other wildlife records, to the general public.
What information do I need to create an earthworm record?
In order to make a biological record 4 pieces of information are compulsory (what, where, when and who). If any of these pieces of information are missing the record can’t be accepted.
- Who made the identification?
- What species was present?
- Where were the specimens found?
- When was the specimen found?
The video below from our Recording Officer explains in more detail...
However, there are lots of other fields of data that can be gathered alongside the core fields to improve our understanding of earthworms. The ESB has produced the National Earthworm Recording Scheme (NERS) Earthworm Recorder's Handbook as guidance for earthworm recorders. This includes an Earthworm Site Survey Form that can be used to gather data in the field.
Submitting an earthworm record
Anyone can submit records of earthworms to the recording scheme by going out and looking for earthworms in your local area and telling us what you find. This will allow us to build up a picture of the distribution of earthworm species in the UK. We already have some data, but there are huge gaps in sampling across the country. The Earthworm Society of Britain runs field meetings which members can attend so you can learn how sample earthworms and identify which species you have discovered.
There are 2 methods for submitting records to the National Earthworm Recording Scheme:
- You can submit your records through the National Earthworm Recording Scheme iRecord activity (preferred method)
- You can email your records to ESBenquiries@gmail.com using the Earthworm Records Submission Sheet.
Please note that all records submitted to the National Earthworm Recording scheme will be shared responsibly with external organisations, such as Local Environmental Records Centres, the National Biodiversity Network Atlas and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Earthworm records will be made freely available, alongside other wildlife records, to the general public. See our Earthworm Data page for more details.
Except where otherwise indicated, this work was created by Keiron Derek Brown on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.