Monday, July 25, 2016

Emergence

Our little streams continue to run beautifully, and so far nothing has disturbed them. Geemi and James have been taking turns spending the night there to help further deter wildlife, and they have both awakened on different nights to find elephants and buffalo grazing remarkably close to their small tent. The other night I received a text from James, telling me that he had gotten out of his tent to start the generator (that runs the streams when Serena power is off), and he had found a buffalo just a few meters in front of him, between him and the streams. He asked if he should go ahead and leave the tent. That's a dedicated student! For the record, I told him no:)

James and his streams
James is interested in how hippo feces and wildebeest carcass influence the river food web, so he has stocked the streams with different animal inputs and aquatic insects from the river. He is sampling the insect's body tissue over time, to see what they are eating. He also has set up nets over each stream to catch the insects after they metamorphose and leave the water as winged adults to see what emerges from different streams. 
James sucking bugs out of stream nets with an aspirator
Each morning is a hunt for insects inside each net, which James sucks out into a bottle (or sometimes your mouth on accident!) through a handheld aspirator. Each stream gets its own bottle for storing the emerged insects. At the beginning of this experiment, we weren't sure whether we would be able to successfully rear any insects, but James has been catching tens to hundreds of emerging insects each day, and already has started to see some interesting emergence patterns between treatments. So exciting!

Emerged insects from different stream treatments


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