Evidence for human-mediated dispersal of exotic earthworms: support for exploring strategies to limit further spread


Cindy M. Hale, Fax: 218-720-4328; E-mail: cmhale@d.umn.edu


As potent ecosystem engineers, non-native earthworms are altering the fundamental structure and function of previously earthworm-free cold-temperate hardwood forests in North America. Discarded earthworms used for fishing bait has been presumed to be an important vector for the continued spread of non-native earthworms because epicentres of invasion often include boat landings, lakeshores and roads. However, controversy has remained about the overall importance of human-mediated spread vs. natural expansion of established earthworm populations. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Cameron et al. explore the continued role of humans in dispersing non-native earthworms.