Hello again everyone,
This past week the team of travelling aquatic arthropod samplers visited Bruce Peninsula National Park, or BPNP. Connor, Adrian, Shannon, and I assembled from the roster of BIO Collection employees to make up last week’s BIObus team – you can see us posing for a great photo on the shoreline of Little Cove with beautiful Georgian Bay in the background.
We had a great week sampling a variety of aquatic habitats including the Crane River and a nice Bog that was attached to the back of one of our campsites. This bog was my favourite sampling site; it contained an abundance of wildlife and many aquatic insects, especially damselflies and giant water bugs (Belostomatidae). We also saw a few beavers that made this bog home.
A defining characteristic of BPNP is its geology; it is part of the Niagara Escarpment that begins in Niagara Falls and ends in Tobermory. The escarpment forms the majority of the peninsula and is responsible for its unique geological features. The rock is mostly dolomite which was created as the tropical sea that covered over this area around 400 million years ago began to dry up. As this ancient ocean evaporated, minerals began to be concentrated and the magnesium from the water was absorbed into the limestone which created the harder dolomite rock. Due to differences in the hardness of some rock layers, some very interesting erosion patterns were created giving some of the shorelines amazing cliffs and strange rock pillars. We were at Little Cove exploring the shoreline and gazing at the large cliffs located in the background of the pictures.
The last few photos I choose to include show some of the work that we have to do in order to sort and preserve the aquatic samples. The team works together to strain water from the samples and sort through them to look for any arthropods that may be hiding in some mud, algae, or other aquatic substrate that was collected in our dip nets. Once we have picked the large arthropods from our sample we pour excess water into jars and allow the sample to sit and separate over time. This allows for sediment and sedentary or benthic arthropods to sink to the bottom of the jar. Remaining above the heavier substrates is clear water and any mobile/free swimming arthropods. This sample of free swimming arthropods is what we call “micro A”. In this specific sample, there was an amazing abundance of aquatic mites. Most of what you see in the mesh looks like some type of dirt or mud but is actually mostly water mites. Once I drained the water, the bottom of the net was alive with these wiggling mites, it was very interesting!