In the OPAL Soil and Earthworm Survey, our citizen scientists record the abundance of juvenile and adult earthworms from a soil pit. They identify the adult earthworms using a simple taxonomic key and also note simple soil characteristics.
What have we found?
The data submitted by OPAL participants shows that:
- Domestic gardens were hotspots for earthworms, with high numbers compared with other habitat types. Gardens also had the highest average number of species
- Rural gardens had a greater number of earthworms and a greater number of species than urban gardens. However, urban gardens had more earthworms than other urban habitats
- The worm species reported at the greatest number of sites were the grey worm, redhead worm and lob worm
- Man-made materials were present in the topsoil in over a third of survey locations and these were predominantly composed of construction material
The following scientific journal papers used OPAL Soil and Earthworm Survey data:
- Bone, J. et al, 2012, Public participation in soil surveys: lessons from a pilot study in England
- Bone, J. et al, 2012, Prioritising Soil Quality Assessment Through the Screening of Sites: the Use of Publicly Collected Data
See results on the OPAL Data Explorer
Explore the OPAL Soil and Earthworm Survey results and draw your own conclusions. Use the OPAL Data Explorer to:
- Map and graph all Soil and Earthworm survey data
- Find out what species have been found near you
- Analyse your results and compare your results with others'
View Soil and Earthworm Survey results on the OPAL Data Explorer (opens in new window)
View more results
- Soil and earthworm survey – The results so far (pdf - published June 2010)