We were really excited to have one of our friends and colleagues visit us for a few days in the field this past week. Frank Masese is an aquatic ecologist currently pursuing his PhD at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in The Netherlands. Frank is interested in organic matter inputs into the river, how they are processed by the river and its food web, and how these processes are altered by land use change. There are a lot of connections between his research and mine, and he's been a great colleague to have in the basin. He also knows a tremendous amount about aquatic macroinvertebrates, among many other things, so we took the opportunity of his visit to learn a lot from him about some of the critters we've been catching in the river of late.
The way we sample for bugs in the river is by using a kicknet. We hold the net in place in the river while we kick the river bottom upstream of the net, dislodging small insects that then float into the net.
|Checking out our catch|
|Frank examining the net for bugs|
|Picking bugs out of the net|
Here are some mayflies we caught from the family Beatidae. Mayflies, in the order Ephemeroptera, are fairly sensitive to water quality. Baetidae are collector-gatherers that feed on plant detritus in the river. This is probably the most common family we catch, although there are many different species included in the family. In this picture, there are two different species of the same family.
Here are some mayflies we caught from the family Tricorythidae, which are also collector-gatherers.
This is another example of a mayfly, from the family Centroptiloides, but these guys are predators.