Course: Discovering Earthworms (Online)
Tue 25, October 2022 - Tue 29, November 2022 (Flexible study time)
For a wriggling and slimy invertebrate, earthworms have a good reputation. Most people
recognise that earthworms are important, but few understand the true power of these ecosystem
engineers or even that not all earthworms are the same.
Find out how different types of earthworm perform different ecological roles and be prepared to
be surprised at some of the natural processes that earthworms contribute to. This course will
arm beginners with the underpinning knowledge needed of earthworm biology, ecology, behaviour
and diversity to embark on their earthworm journey, as well as putting this knowledge into
practice by finding earthworms in their natural habitat and categorising them into one of four
What topics are covered in this course?
Earthworm Biology will start with what makes an earthworm an earthworm and where
earthworms fit within the tree of life. We will then provide an introduction to the biology of
earthworms, including their anatomy and some of the biological processes occurring within the
Earthworm Ecology & Behaviour will explore the role of earthworms within the
ecosystems that they inhabit. We will start with the findings of Charles Darwin regarding
earthworm intelligence and the role of earthworms in bioturbation. We will then move on to
various behaviours of earthworms, including burrowing, dormancy and dispersal.
Earthworm Diversity will explore how British and Irish earthworms can be categorised
by their ecology and behaviour into 4 ecological categories, with guidance on how to determine
the ecological category an earthworm belongs to in the field based on the size, colour and
pigmentation of an earthworm. We will then look a little further afield and discuss the
diversity of earthworms globally, with a look at some amazing species found outside of the
British Isles and the impact of British & Irish earthworms in ecosystems they have been
introduced to abroad.
Finding Earthworms will put the things that we’ve learned about earthworms into
practice and look for earthworms in their habitats. This will involve looking for earthworms
and earthworm field signs in your garden or allotment (or local park). We will ask you to
search above-ground habitats for earthworms and look for earthworm field signs.
- 4-week online course for adults, with a weekly time commitment of 3-5 hours per week.
- Access to study content, activities and tutor-graded assignments through the FSC virtual
- Access to weekly live virtual classroom sessions at the end of each week with the course
tutor through Zoom (recorded for those that are unable to attend the live sessions).
- E-certificate upon course completion.
- Endorsed by the Earthworm Society of Britain.
- Learners will need to have access to and be able to use a spade (or have someone willing to
help) to fully complete this course.
- Please note that this course is NOT a species identification course and will only go as far
as categorising British earthworm species into 4 ecological categories.
- Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.
- This course is aimed at adults only and course attendees must be at least 18 years old
in order to attend.
Please refer to our website for further information and to book.
Find out more