Event Title

I C Natural Sciences Presentation 2: Comparison of Sampling Methods to Estimate Worm Populations in a University Composting System

Presenter Information

Hunter Stanton WarrenFollow

Location

Hope Hall

Start Date

29-2-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

29-2-2020 10:15 AM

Session Chair

Allyson Harris

Mentor

Dr. David Judge

Description

Research shows that the castings of earthworms are viable sources of nutrition for plants such as those in the flower beds of college campuses such as those at Gardner-Webb University. Vermiform composting supplies plants with a fertilizer that is both well irrigated and has ample amounts of nutrition for plants, such as nitrogen (Suthar, 2009). Previous research of temperature and conversion rates indicate that these earthworms will consume more vegetable waste with higher temperatures (Jackson & Judge, 2018). In order for this process to be supported as a reasonable, green endeavor for college campuses, more quantitative evidence of the earthworms’ (E. fetida) conversion of vegetable waste must be obtained via population estimations. Three different methodologies of sampling worm populations were tested: visual implant elastomer (VIE), by-hand sampling, and sampling via light. Results indicate that the VIE sampling was inefficient because the elastomer was not retained by the earthworms. My hand-sampling methodology was efficient; however, inconsistencies within it suggest tweaking of it should make it a more reliable means of sampling in later trials since there was a margin of error of approximately 70% when only 20% was allowed. Sampling via light shows potential in being an efficient process of sampling. In fact, a few adjustments ought to allow this method to be an effective course of population sampling of earthworms as well in later experiments.

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Feb 29th, 9:00 AM Feb 29th, 10:15 AM

I C Natural Sciences Presentation 2: Comparison of Sampling Methods to Estimate Worm Populations in a University Composting System

Hope Hall

Research shows that the castings of earthworms are viable sources of nutrition for plants such as those in the flower beds of college campuses such as those at Gardner-Webb University. Vermiform composting supplies plants with a fertilizer that is both well irrigated and has ample amounts of nutrition for plants, such as nitrogen (Suthar, 2009). Previous research of temperature and conversion rates indicate that these earthworms will consume more vegetable waste with higher temperatures (Jackson & Judge, 2018). In order for this process to be supported as a reasonable, green endeavor for college campuses, more quantitative evidence of the earthworms’ (E. fetida) conversion of vegetable waste must be obtained via population estimations. Three different methodologies of sampling worm populations were tested: visual implant elastomer (VIE), by-hand sampling, and sampling via light. Results indicate that the VIE sampling was inefficient because the elastomer was not retained by the earthworms. My hand-sampling methodology was efficient; however, inconsistencies within it suggest tweaking of it should make it a more reliable means of sampling in later trials since there was a margin of error of approximately 70% when only 20% was allowed. Sampling via light shows potential in being an efficient process of sampling. In fact, a few adjustments ought to allow this method to be an effective course of population sampling of earthworms as well in later experiments.