Megan, Laura and I (Ginny) will be doing a Macroinvertebrate survey of three streams. Since we are doing three seperate sites, I did not set us up as a "team" on the investigations site, choosing instead to have my data be one investigation.
This afternoon we finally made it down to Eddie Brook, our brook next to the elementary school. This lively stretch of water, considered by many to be nothing more than a drainage ditch is absolutely surrounded by invasive vegetation. However, the critters that inhabit the riffles and pools are nothing short of magical. With my able assistants, we initially tried the kick net. However, the stream is so shallow and many of the creatures of interest are stuck to the undersides of rocks rather strongly. We then randomly chose a section to throw our quadrat on- and went about investigating. We turned up a brick with a massive number of caddis fly larvae cases, and what I THINK is a stonefly larvae- There were also snails, striders and other things we could not identify. I have had some problems with pulling the lat/long off of google earth. Thus my observations are not yet posted- I'll try to rectify that tomorrow. However- my conclusion is that given the high dissolved oxygen measurement, the abundance of caddis fly larvae and the presence of what I think are stone fly larvae- Eddie Brook is actually a healthy little stream!
Problems: did not calibrate pH meter properly
Our research question was 'How healthy is our stream based on the presence of macroinvertebrate indicator species? ' We also wanted to incorporate water quality measurements.
Verdict: given the parameters, quite healthy.
http://vitalsignsme.org/observation/species-ephemeroptera-order-was-foun.... Here is my mayfly observation. And
http://vitalsignsme.org/observation/species-trichoptera-order-was-found-... Here is my caddisfly.
I also found a fishfly larvae that was really mean looking, but there was no species on the list. I also found some blackfly larvae, and some other bugs I did not identify. This brought back all my memories of stream sampling. Boy do I love stream sampling. Kicking up the rocks, looking down and suddenly seeing these weird creatures! and then staring into the ice cube trays waiting for something to move.
I would recommend using the kick net with at least four people. Two to hold the net, and two to help get the sample into a bucket. Next time I will go back to using my D nets, especially if I am by myself!. You need a wide mouth container (large) so maybe a rectangle cat litter bucket or refrigerator drawers. I am going to be visiting the dump, excuse me, transfer station, tomorrow and asking the attendants to save me some. Plus you need a smaller secondary container to use to rinse the net into the bigger bucket. Ice cube trays and plastic spoons are a must.( I tried using metal spoons, but there was not enough flexiblity.) Eye droppers would have been good, too. Also, it really would have been nice to have a magnifying glass of some sort (besides my reading glasses!). I could not use the VS Canon to take the close ups, so I got out my Canon Digital SLR, but forgot to go back and edit the camera type.
Then I used the Acorn app to pinpoint the areas I was using for evidence. Way cool. It tells you when you go to save that you will lose your layers. Don't believe it. I did not.
This by the way took me over 4 hours. (Well it took me an hour to get the batteries and memory sticks and handles on the camera and GPS, and pH calibrated) Then I did get carried away with the pictures. But really is there a better way to spend a hot Friday in the summer?
Hi all! I used my kick net by myself and managed to scoop up a lot of debris but none of the inverts that we were looking for. I just laid out the net on the bank and looked for them on the net. I did find a native species of plant that we had on species card but none of the inverts. I did have a lot of fun out in the brook and it was easy to get around because it was pretty shallow at this time of year. I found a very small critter and will need to use another resource to identify it. I also could've used a magnifying glass to get a good look at him. Yes, the whole process took several hours but it was pleasurable work here in the summertime!
Hello macroinvertebrate team!
Its wonderful to see your reports from the far corners of Maine. I am very intrigued about all the invasives lining the stream in MDI, yet the stream itself was full of life, and appeared healthy. Nice job altering your sampling method based on the actual parameters of your location - nowhere is it written in stone that you need to use a kicknet! The strong communications of your team are evident despite the geographic divide, and we certainly hope you can see the translation of this experience, and working with a distributed community to the classroom. I hope you can envision how much your students will take away from these investigations as well. Great work team!