How Worms Changed the World

Dr Luke Parry
Event date
Event time
17:30 - 19:00
Museum of Natural History
Parks Road
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

Talk begins at 18:00, doors open from 17:30

Find out how burrowing worms have changed the path of evolution for millions of species, and explore the roles they play in ecosystems today.

Worms are a key component of ecosystems, from the deep sea to soils on land. While worm-like body plans can be found in almost all groups of animals that are alive today, this wasn't always the case...

About 540 million years ago, during a period called the Cambrian Explosion, animal life burst onto the scene, and evolutionary change happened at a rapid pace. During this time, worms diversified and started burrowing into sediments. This allowed water to infiltrate the seabed, bringing with it oxygen and other components that could support life. This meant that humble worms brought about fundamental changes in the functioning of early ecosystems, and set the stage for the evolution of complex animal life.

Worms have continued to underpin ecosystems for the past 500 million years. But whilst we often consider worms to be an icon of healthy ecosystems, this isn't always the case. In this talk, Dr Luke Parry will discuss not only how worms sustain life, but also the devastating impact they can have when introduced as an invasive species.

This event is free, but please book your tickets in advance.