Aquatic Fun in Fundy

The familiar sound of raindrops pounding the BIObus woke us today.  During our stay at Fundy National Park we have definitely experienced true coastal Maritimes weather, with days filled with scattered shower and overcast skies.  We drove to Caribou Trail to begin the day with some aquatic sampling.  Here, a wooden boardwalk guides the way through forests of yellow birch and softwood trees and over a slow flowing brook.  Along the shore by an overwater bridge, we scoped a shallow site to begin collecting.  We waved our nets in the water at the banks, scooping up a variety of swimming insects, some slugs and occasional dirt. My personal favourite were water boatmen: relatively cute little guys that have surprising speed and gangly oar-like limbs propelling them in every direction.  Other insects including leaf hoppers, terrestrial beetles and small flies bouncing along the surface of the water were also captured.  Surveying our catch at the end of collecting, I was amazed by the abundance of small, nondescript insects moving through the layers of the water.  It was a small reminder of how complicated and integrated nature can truly be, and that there is always more than meets the eye.

Katelyn Lutes aquatic sampling at Caribou Trail, Fundy National Park
Katelyn Lutes aquatic sampling at Caribou Trail, Fundy National Park

We continued the aquatic theme for the day, travelling to Coastal Trail to do more sampling.  The trail itself is beautiful, with rust coloured rocks lining the river bed, and a clear stream rippling through them, cascading into a small waterfall.  Here we encountered many different larval species under rocks.  Caddisflies covered in their pebble cases and many mayflies and stoneflies were collected using forceps. As with the first sampling site, larval insects dominated the fast flowing waters.  I became one with nature here (literally), as my boot plunged into the stream and filled with chilly water.

We ended the day by setting some nocturnal bottle traps after dinner and finally losing the chill from a damp and water filled day.  We hope that tomorrow will bring us some warmth and sunlight while we continue collecting insects at Fundy!

-Katelyn

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