the upside of wormlife

like many people i'm sure you think of worms as what they do down below or at the surface of the soil. a few people might think of them as living in the leaf piles and in parts of logs that are decaying or other piles of rotting organic materials. which at least is perhaps a few inches above ground.
then there comes the part of worm life that takes place above ground, often enough four or more inches above ground.
i'm not sure exactly why they do it, but it is likely a new territory searching aspect where they will crawl up the sides of things. at night mostly. also the time of mating and wandering for several species, and the time of a lot of activity near the mouths of their burrows for the night crawlers (who don't tend to wander from their burrows much at all).
the thought came to me last night that they also are spreading their preferred bacterial species around and innoculating plants above ground with these. in effect creating a beneficial micro climate with some of their bacterial friends.
an interesting side thought as it shows how one rather small and mostly ignored organism can have such large effects over a part of their environment that we might not normally consider a part of their domain.
songbird
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Since the worms passageways channel air, and water, why would they expose themselves to predators, when the plants roots will find their way to the passageways and the bacteria? I thought the worms bacteria did its work in the worms intestine. Why would the worm want to spread it? What's the advantage to the worm?
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Billy

E Pluribus Unum
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Billy wrote:

i really don't know why they crawl upwards as far as they do. i'm guessing it is a new territory seeking behavior or a finding new mating partner behavior (both do vary by species). it's the byproduct of that behavior that i find interesting and caused me to write a note. that it does mean they are spreading their bacterial gut buddies around the zone above the one we normally think of them as inhabiting. i wouldn't be surprised to find out they are also spreading fungi and other critters too.
it may be that the behavior is actually driven in some manner by the bacteria much as some human behaviors are driven by gut bacterial colonies (and the dysfunctions that can happen with them). so there might not be a direct benefit to the worm as much as it is acting as an agent for the bacteria to get it spread around.
we are certainly the agent for some plant species spreading and of course we take our own bacterial colonies along with us too as a result. it might not be a far stretch to say that some new territory seeking behaviors or the travel bug drives in people might be the result of a long association with bacteria. if the home turf gets too contaminated then there are some who will move on. thus space travel might be an urge at heart derived from bacterial nudgings. that's leverage for ya. starting with methane and ending up with ... well, we don't quite know where it ends yet. ha.
songbird
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My Dad and and used to go to the local school at night during a rain storm. We would drive two metal copper spikes in the sandy ground about 6 feet apart which we connected to a car battery. This caused the night crawlers to come to the surface. We are talking 10 inch guys.
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Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden

http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com /
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wrote:

Yeah buddy, that's fish bait in a hurry!
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Bill who putters wrote: ...

hey, there you are! welcome back. :)
for the worm farm bins here i can go scratch the edge of the ones that have nightcrawlers with my fingernail and they'll surface. quite quickly. the first time i did it by accident (i was trying to get a piece of protruding plastic off the edge of the lip so it wouldn't snag the cover any more) it surprised me at how fast they came up and completely out of their burrow (not a common action).
songbird
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Uh-huh.
That is all very interesting, but what evidence do you have to support your assertion? Do you have any websites that I could access, that explain why nature would ask of a bacteria to be able to survive in two entirely different niches?
We all, of course, are entitled to our own opinions, just not our own facts.
It was about 70F here, on the other side of the hill, today. Rain fall is at 50%. Nice while it lasts.
Work is slowin' down.
Time to get out in the yard again.
--

Billy

E Pluribus Unum
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Billy wrote:

bacterial spores are not answer enough? or do you mean actually growing and dividing? a bacteria will go on growing if it has nutrients, water and space. is the space provided in the gut of a worm significantly different than the space provided in the crotch of a branch or wedge between two rocks, or pile of leaves? if the numbers of surviving bacteria to spread from one area to the next is only a few then the transfer has succeeded.
bacterial spores survive for long periods of time in various environments. that is why it is so hard to completely sterilize an environment some supposedly have been cultured from 10,000yr old samples taken from the gut of a bog preserved mastodon. also supposedly there is a claim that they have been cultured from amber from the gut of imbedded insects. i cannot verify the second claim, but the first seems to be quite valid.

:)
that is the joy of science and exploration after all, that if the observations pan out and are verified then you've made a contribution to knowlege. the opinion can be founded upon evidence or a hunch that is more intuitive summation of many observations, but to actually figure out if it is a fact is the challenge.
however, in the case of bacteria influencing the host organism, changing behavior, even down to the level of virus, prion and such is quite well documented already. a mad cow can do things a regular cow would not do. a mad human likewise. syphillis, is quite a clear example of one bacterial derangement in humans. i like how the word "range" is included in that word.

it snowed here yesterday. this week's forecast is mostly in the mid-40sF. this has not really been much of a winter for us. plenty of rain though so i am not worried about drought. we've had a number of thunderstorms and for me to hear those in the middle of winter (Dec, Jan) used to be rare. the past eight years they've become pretty much an every year thing now.
the large number of freeze-thaw cycles might be the most trouble from this, but from what i can see now the plants look mostly ok.
the propane tank is finally low enough to make a refill worth it. that should get us through the rest of the heating season. i was hoping we could get to Feb.
i might get out this week sometime to pick up wood from the power company tree contractors clearing the power line. we use it to make berms. we've tried to encourage them to dump loads of wood chips for us, but the soft ground is causing them to get stuck other places and they are leery. dang. 40yds of free wood chips would be very nice to have on hand.
songbird
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