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Limited Reproduction of
Eisenia foetida


This experiment was designed to confirm the reproductive activities of red wiggler worms, Eisenia foetida, in a confined environment. This is part of a three year study on the process of vermicomposting (using specialized worms to decompose waste). The overall practical applications of this three year study are to contribute in vermicomposting, one of the developing solutions to current waste-management problems. This year's experiment dealt with the worm's ability to exercise population control in an environment where only limited amounts of water, food, and space are available. Ten bins of relatively small dimension were prepared with constant amounts of water, food, and bedding, to provide such a limited environment for the worms. Each bin began with ten worms, and every four days, checks were conducted to determine any changes in the worm populations. We discovered that the "adjustment period," referred to in our hypothesis, was needed by worms in most of the bins before they could begin to reproduce. A surprising trend evident in our data was the "wave effect," a tendency for the fluctuations in the worm populations to oscillate back and forth in respect to their relative gains/losses. In other words, we were able to confirm that Eisenia foetida are able to limit their population growth based upon available resources.


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