Damhnait McHugh, Ecologist: Annelid Ecology


Damhnait McHugh wants to understand how annelids have adapted to such a wide variety of habitats. She takes her students into the field, to mudflats and to gardens. McHugh explains how earthworms’ digging and eating debris benefits the soil, soil organisms and plants. She describes how we humans benefit from the annelids on land and in the sea.

Next Generation Science Standards for this Video

The various adaptations of annelid worms demonstrate clearly the complementary nature of structure and function.

Earthworms are important decomposers. Digging in the soil, earthworms both aerate and release nutrients into the soil.

Damhnait McHugh goes out into the field to observe worms in a variety of habitats.

Damhnait McHugh observes annelids in the marine and terrestrial environment and makes connections between how they live.

Scientist in this video

We should see ourselves, I think, as custodians of the great diversity of animals that we see around us today. But we should also remember that we are not masters of this diversity. In fact, we depend very much on the diversity of animals around us . . . even the lowly worm. -- Damhnait McHugh