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Stream Ecology and Macroinvertebrate Sampling. What is a stream? A lotic habitat (flowing waters) A lotic habitat (flowing waters) A transporter of inorganic.

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Presentation on theme: "Stream Ecology and Macroinvertebrate Sampling. What is a stream? A lotic habitat (flowing waters) A lotic habitat (flowing waters) A transporter of inorganic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Stream Ecology and Macroinvertebrate Sampling

2 What is a stream? A lotic habitat (flowing waters) A lotic habitat (flowing waters) A transporter of inorganic and organic material A transporter of inorganic and organic material A habitat for many species of fish, insects, birds, mammals, plants, and microrganisms A habitat for many species of fish, insects, birds, mammals, plants, and microrganisms

3 What is a Benthic Macroinvertebrate? Macros are aquatic insects, mollusks and crustaceans Macros are aquatic insects, mollusks and crustaceans Macros live in various stream habitats and derive their oxygen from the water Macros live in various stream habitats and derive their oxygen from the water Animals retained by a net with a mesh size greater than 1/5 of a mm Animals retained by a net with a mesh size greater than 1/5 of a mm Why use them? - Easy to collect and identify - Some are indicator species - Some are sedentary and have long life cycles, so can act as continuous monitors of water quality

4 Macroinvertebrates are affected by: - Resource availability - Pollution inputs (organic and inorganic) - Available habitat - Velocity and volume of water (flow) Why are they important? - They are the link in the aquatic food chain - They eat algae, leaves, and other small macroinvertebrates, which are then eaten by larger animals like fish, who are eaten by birds, racoons, snakes, and people and other small macroinvertebrates, which are then eaten by larger animals like fish, who are eaten by birds, racoons, snakes, and people

5 Why Monitor Aquatic Systems? Provides education about streams near us Provides education about streams near us Assess the health of streams and our waterways Assess the health of streams and our waterways Build local awareness about water quality Build local awareness about water quality Documents the quality of streams overtime Documents the quality of streams overtime Detect a pollution problem Detect a pollution problem Determine places in need of restoration Determine places in need of restoration May influence decision-making of local, state, and federal governments May influence decision-making of local, state, and federal governments

6 What Is Point Source Pollution? Industrial Discharge Industrial Discharge Sewage treatment plant Sewage treatment plant Exposed leaking sewer pipe Exposed leaking sewer pipe Regulated by EPD through a permitting process Regulated by EPD through a permitting process Pollutant source more easily identified (point to source) Pollutant source more easily identified (point to source)

7 What is Non-point Source Pollution? Erosion Sediment Erosion Sediment Fertilizers, pesticides Fertilizers, pesticides Animal wastes Animal wastes Runoff from roads and parking lots Runoff from roads and parking lots Illicit Spills and illegal dumping Illicit Spills and illegal dumping Leaking septic systems Leaking septic systems The #1 cause of water quality problems in North Carolina The #1 cause of water quality problems in North Carolina No easily identifiable source and everyone contributes No easily identifiable source and everyone contributes

8 Biological Communities Definition- a group of plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi living in a particular area Definition- a group of plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi living in a particular area Why is it important? It reflects the overall ecological integrity of a system because the organisms integrate the chemical and physical aspects of the environment Why is it important? It reflects the overall ecological integrity of a system because the organisms integrate the chemical and physical aspects of the environment Communities vary with microhabitat Communities vary with microhabitat

9 What is Biomonitoring? Biological Monitoring Definition- The use of organisms and their biological responses to evaluate changes in the environment Biological Monitoring Definition- The use of organisms and their biological responses to evaluate changes in the environment Why important? Reveals the effects of different Why important? Reveals the effects of different pollutants or other changes in environmental changes. pollutants or other changes in environmental changes. The presence of macroinvertebrates indicate both the The presence of macroinvertebrates indicate both the the quality of water and habitat the quality of water and habitat This data is often collected and used to This data is often collected and used to assess the human impacts on a system assess the human impacts on a system

10 Kicknet Sampling Face it upstream Face it upstream Place rocks on net Place rocks on net Make sure there is a bow on the net Make sure there is a bow on the net Kick for one minute Kick for one minute Ensure that water does not flow over the top of the net or escape around the sides Ensure that water does not flow over the top of the net or escape around the sides Together bring sides together slowly and bring net out of H20 in a forward sweeping motion Together bring sides together slowly and bring net out of H20 in a forward sweeping motion

11 Stream Habitats Riffles Riffles Leaf packs Leaf packs Vegetated margins Vegetated margins Woody debris Woody debris Sand/rock/gravel streambed Sand/rock/gravel streambed

12 Picking a site Suitable Riffles Suitable Riffles Small Small Safe to wade in Safe to wade in Will not wash water over top of kick net Will not wash water over top of kick net Not suitable riffle Not suitable riffle

13 Leafpack Sampling Place pan underneath leaves Place pan underneath leaves Scrape material into pan Scrape material into pan Sort and identify the macroinvertebrates Sort and identify the macroinvertebrates

14 Pollution-sensitive Macroinvertebrates Caddisflies Caddisflies Hellegramites Hellegramites Mayfly Mayfly Stoneflies Stoneflies Planarian Planarian Gilled snail Gilled snail Riffle beetle adult Riffle beetle adult Water penny Water penny

15 Stonefly Nymph Measure 8-15mm in length (not including tails) Measure 8-15mm in length (not including tails) 2 tails 2 tails 2 sets of wing pads 2 sets of wing pads Branched gills between legs on underside of body Branched gills between legs on underside of body Yellow to brown in color; often patterned yellow and Yellow to brown in color; often patterned yellow and brown when mature brown when mature Superficially similar to certain flattened mayfly nymphs, however stonefly nymphs always have two tails, prominent antennae, and two claws at the end of each leg. Superficially similar to certain flattened mayfly nymphs, however stonefly nymphs always have two tails, prominent antennae, and two claws at the end of each leg.

16 Mayfly Mayfly Mature larvae measure to 3/4 inch in length (excluding tails) Mature larvae measure to 3/4 inch in length (excluding tails) Two rows of long hairs present on inside of front legs Two rows of long hairs present on inside of front legs 2 or 3 tails 2 or 3 tails Slender antennae Slender antennae The conspicuous hairs growing on the inner front legs are used for filtering food particles from the water. The conspicuous hairs growing on the inner front legs are used for filtering food particles from the water. Brush-legged mayflies may be minnow like with a vertically oriented head and three tails (as pictured) or may be more flattened with a horizontally oriented head and two tails. Brush-legged mayflies may be minnow like with a vertically oriented head and three tails (as pictured) or may be more flattened with a horizontally oriented head and two tails.

17 Caddisflies Caddisflies Up to one inch in length Up to one inch in length Build distinctive cases made of sticks, rocks, sand, plant material and/or other debris Build distinctive cases made of sticks, rocks, sand, plant material and/or other debris Three pairs of legs Three pairs of legs Antennae reduced and inconspicuous Antennae reduced and inconspicuous

18 Hellegramites Measure 3/4 - 4 inches in length. Measure 3/4 - 4 inches in length. Body is elongate and somewhat flattened. Body is elongate and somewhat flattened. Large pinching jaws. Large pinching jaws. Lateral appendages along the length of the abdomen. Lateral appendages along the length of the abdomen. Cotton-like gill tufts on underside of abdomen. Cotton-like gill tufts on underside of abdomen. Abdomen terminates in two small prolegs, each bearing two claws. Abdomen terminates in two small prolegs, each bearing two claws. Short inconspicuous antennae. Short inconspicuous antennae. Feed on other aquatic insects. Feed on other aquatic insects. Hellgrammites are usually found on the underside of large rocks in cool, slow-moving streams. Hellgrammites are usually found on the underside of large rocks in cool, slow-moving streams. Handle hellgrammites carefully, larger individuals may deliver a painful pinch! Handle hellgrammites carefully, larger individuals may deliver a painful pinch!

19 Water Penny Measures 1/4 inch in length Measures 1/4 inch in length Flat disk-like body Flat disk-like body Head and legs concealed from above Head and legs concealed from above 6 legs and branched gills on underside 6 legs and branched gills on underside Prefers cold running water Prefers cold running water Water pennies prefer cold, fast-moving streams. Their smooth, flattened bodies enable them to resist the pull of the current. Water pennies are usually found on smooth rocks where they graze on attached algae Water pennies prefer cold, fast-moving streams. Their smooth, flattened bodies enable them to resist the pull of the current. Water pennies are usually found on smooth rocks where they graze on attached algae

20 Riffle Beetle Adults Riffle beetles measure Riffle beetles measure approximately 1/16 to approximately 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length 1/4 inch in length Body small, usually oval Body small, usually oval Legs are long Legs are long Antennae are usually slender Antennae are usually slender Riffle beetles walk slowly underwater, Riffle beetles walk slowly underwater, they do not swim on the surface they do not swim on the surface

21 Gilled Snail Shell usually opens on right Shell usually opens on right Shell opening covered by Shell opening covered by a thin plate (operculum) a thin plate (operculum)

22 Pollution semi-tolerant Macroinvertebrates Alderfly Alderfly Clam or Mussel Clam or Mussel Cranefly Cranefly Crayfish Crayfish Damselfly Damselfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Fishfly Fishfly Aquatic beetles Sowbug Scud Watersnipe fly Wherligig beetle larvae

23 Dragonfly Larva Measure between inches in length Measure between inches in length Large eyes Large eyes Two pairs of wing pads Two pairs of wing pads Large round or oval abdomen Large round or oval abdomen Abdomen terminates in three small pointed structures Abdomen terminates in three small pointed structures Can be readily distinguished from other species by the presence of a large jaw which is modified for grasping and covers the underside of the head Can be readily distinguished from other species by the presence of a large jaw which is modified for grasping and covers the underside of the head Prefer cool still water, often found among vegetation and leaf packs or burrowed in sediment Prefer cool still water, often found among vegetation and leaf packs or burrowed in sediment

24 Damselfly Nymph Measure 1/2 to 1 inch in length Measure 1/2 to 1 inch in length Large eyes Large eyes 3 broad flattened gills at end of abdomen 3 broad flattened gills at end of abdomen Abdomen usually much more narrow and slender than that of dragonflies Abdomen usually much more narrow and slender than that of dragonflies Underside of head covered by a large jaw which is modified for grasping Underside of head covered by a large jaw which is modified for grasping

25 Cranefly Larva Measure 1/3-2 inches in length Measure 1/3-2 inches in length Plump caterpillar-like segmented body Plump caterpillar-like segmented body Head is usually retracted into the body Head is usually retracted into the body Milky green to brown color Milky green to brown color Four finger-like lobes at back end of body Four finger-like lobes at back end of body

26 Sowbug Measure 5-20 mm in length. Measure 5-20 mm in length. Clear whitish to pink in color. Clear whitish to pink in color. Dorsoventrally flattened (side to side). Dorsoventrally flattened (side to side). Seven pairs of legs, the first two are modified for grasping. Seven pairs of legs, the first two are modified for grasping. Found in shallow freshwater on rocks or detritus. Found in shallow freshwater on rocks or detritus.

27 Scud Measure 5-20 mm in length. Measure 5-20 mm in length. Clear whitish to pink in color. Clear whitish to pink in color. Laterally flattened (top to bottom). Laterally flattened (top to bottom). Seven pairs of legs, the first two are modified for grasping. Seven pairs of legs, the first two are modified for grasping. Found in shallow freshwater springs, streams, lakes and ponds. Found in shallow freshwater springs, streams, lakes and ponds. Most species feed on detritus. Most species feed on detritus. Scuds are an important food source for many fishes. Scuds are an important food source for many fishes.

28 Crayfish Measure up to 6 inches in length Measure up to 6 inches in length Have 5 pairs of walking legs, the Have 5 pairs of walking legs, the first pair with large pinchers first pair with large pinchers Resembles a small lobster Crayfish are usually active only at night. During the day they hide in burrows or under rocks. Resembles a small lobster Crayfish are usually active only at night. During the day they hide in burrows or under rocks. Crayfish are omnivorous, eating both plants and animals. Crayfish are omnivorous, eating both plants and animals.

29 Pollution-tolerant macroinvertebrates Aquatic worm Aquatic worm Black Fly Black Fly Leech Leech Lunged snail Lunged snail Midge Fly Midge Fly

30 Midge fly Measure up to 1/2 inch in length Measure up to 1/2 inch in length Body small, cylindrical, Body small, cylindrical, and slightly curved and slightly curved Occasionally deep red in color, otherwise variously colored Occasionally deep red in color, otherwise variously colored Two small prolegs just posterior to head Two small prolegs just posterior to head Frequently found in bottom sediments of lakes, streams, and ponds where they feed on deposited organic material Frequently found in bottom sediments of lakes, streams, and ponds where they feed on deposited organic material

31 Black fly Measure to 1/2 inch in length Measure to 1/2 inch in length Body cylindrical and widest posteriorly Body cylindrical and widest posteriorly Abdomen terminates in an attachment disc Abdomen terminates in an attachment disc Head usually possesses fan-like appendages Head usually possesses fan-like appendages Blackfly larvae prefer cold running water and are usually found attached by the end of their abdomens to rocks, woody debris, or vegetation in the currents of rivers and streams. Blackfly larvae prefer cold running water and are usually found attached by the end of their abdomens to rocks, woody debris, or vegetation in the currents of rivers and streams.

32 Leech Measure 1.0 mm to 5.0 cm in length. Measure 1.0 mm to 5.0 cm in length. Typically dorsoventrally flattened. Typically dorsoventrally flattened. Always have 34 segments. Always have 34 segments. Suckers at both ends. Suckers at both ends. Leeches are common in warm protected waters of lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes. Leeches are common in warm protected waters of lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes. Leeches usually avoid light by hiding under rocks or among aquatic vegetation or detritus. Leeches usually avoid light by hiding under rocks or among aquatic vegetation or detritus. Silty substrates are unsuitable for leeches because they cannot attach properly. Silty substrates are unsuitable for leeches because they cannot attach properly.

33 Aquatic Worm Measure 1-30 mm in length, but Measure 1-30 mm in length, but sometimes over 100 mm. sometimes over 100 mm. Clear whitish to pink in color. Clear whitish to pink in color. Body consists of 7 to 500 segments. Body consists of 7 to 500 segments. Segments often have bristles or hairs. Segments often have bristles or hairs. Tolerant of low dissolved oxygen concentrations. Tolerant of low dissolved oxygen concentrations. Found in silty substrates and among debris or detritus in pods, lakes, streams and rivers. Found in silty substrates and among debris or detritus in pods, lakes, streams and rivers. Dense populations of Tubificids can often be found in organically polluted rivers. Dense populations of Tubificids can often be found in organically polluted rivers. Approximately 200 species in North America Approximately 200 species in North America

34 Lunged Snail Shell usually opens to the left Shell usually opens to the left Breathe Air Breathe Air No operculum No operculum

35 Calculate your results If you find: You may have: Variety of macroinvertebrates, lots of each kind Healthy Stream Little variety, with many of each kindWater enriched with organic matter A variety of macroinvertebrates, but a few of each kind, or No macroinvertebrates but the stream appears clean Toxic pollution Few macroinvertebrates and the streambed is covered with sediment Poor habitat from sedimentation

36 We monitor because we care; We care because we are informed; We care because we are informed; We are informed because we monitor. -- Cassie Champion


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