Worms should be honorary people. Why? Because they work harder and contribute more to the environment and food supply than many real people do.
How do we know that? Because wormologists who study them have the facts to back up that claim.
This scientific article published in the Chemical and Engineering News, a weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society, explains why worms are so important to many processes in soils that contribute to crop growth and yields.
Worms help to release and activate nutrients that fertilize plants. While doing so they make those same nutrients more mobile and ready to diffuse into soil-saturating surface water. That partly explains how and why streams carry the plant nutrients N, P and K and other dissolved soil substances off the land and into Sylvan Lake. Worms are the recyclers.
Worms at work. Read about the science of what they do.
The Stewardship Society’s water quality testing of tributaries and of the lake itself helps us monitor that runoff from diffuse land sources as we have reported in other SLWSS News articles.
Phytoplankton and aquatic plants in the lake then take over and remove those same nutrients as part of their seasonal life cycles and the lake’s food chain. That fortunate natural balance between nutrient input, released in part by those industrious worms, followed by the teamwork of lake organisms to remove them, has to continue or we’re in trouble. Cyanobacterial and algal blooms may occur if either process is adversely disrupted by land use change in the watershed.
That is why the SLWSS remains eternally vigilant, just like our Lighthouse brick slogan says.