Craig Wm Schneider's Seaweed Lab

Are earthworms a possible mechanism for airborne dispersal of the alga Vaucheria?

C.W. SCHNEIDER and D.C. McDEVIT (2002)

Northeastern Naturalist 9: 225-234


Propagules of four species of the algal genus Vaucheria — V. aversa, V. frigida, V. prona, and V. undulata— are shown to survive enteric passage through the exotic earthworm, Metaphire levis. One species previously known from the northeastern Connecticut collection site, V. geminata, did not appear in the worm castings cultures, and another, V. aversa, was unknown there previously. In that earthworm castings are a mechanism for the movement of soils, we postulate that they can also be the source of dispersal of Vaucheria propagules which, when wafted into the atmosphere as dust from castings, could disperse to distant locations.

Key words: Biogeography, dispersal, Metaphire, propagules, riparian sediments, seed banks, worm castings,Vaucheria,