FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Earthworm Ecology and Identification weekend

  • Location: Preston Montford
  • Tutor: Earthworm Society of Britain
  • Dates: Friday 16 November 2018 to Sunday 18 November 2018
  • Level: Beginners
  • Sole occupancy: £50
  • Shared occupancy: £30
  • Non-resident: £20

This course is fully booked on this date but you can join the waiting list (by scrollling to the bottom of the page) in case space becomes available or it is run on another date.

There are currently 29 species of earthworm in the UK. They are vital to the economic health of our country, as they are crucial for soil health, food production, waste decomposition and even flood mitigation. They are also a vital food resource for many other species of wildlife. In addition, they were a lifelong obsession of Charles Darwin, and have many fascinating behaviours.

This weekend course will provide an introduction to earthworms as a group, their natural history, how to collect them and how to identify them to species level using microscopes. The course will be a mixture of classroom sessions and fieldwork. The course is suitable for those with an interest in earthworms, and no experience of microscopes or earthworm identification is necessary (but please note that we will be working with dead specimens, which are essential for accurately identifying species). By the end of the weekend participants will:

  • Learn about the natural history and different ecological roles of earthworms
  • Understand what is know about current UK earthworm distribution, and why we need to know more
  • Have had experience of field methods for collecting earthworms
  • Be able to prepare specimens for investigation under the microscope
  • Be able to use keys and microscopes to confirm earthworm species identification
  • Know how to record earthworms to the national recording schemes
  • Know what to do to take their interest further.

The course is a joint event with the Earthworm Society of Britain (ESB) and will be run by a selection of their tutors. The ESB is a young, dynamic society and their tutors are drawn from a range of backgrounds including the Natural History Society, the Field Studies Council and various universities.

Charlie Bell and Keiron Brown, who run the FSC’s BioLinks Project, are also ESB earthworm tutors so they will be helping teach and facilitate during the weekend.

This course is heavily subsidised by the FSC BioLinks Project (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund).

Further Information

Course brochure


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This course is currently fully booked. You can request to join the waiting list.

Sole occupancy : £50


Shared occupancy : £30


Non-resident : £20


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