The Effects of Chemical and Physical Factors of Streams on Aquatic Invertebrates Carissa Fisher Winter Ecology Spring Semester 2010 Mountain Research Station – University of Colorado, Boulder
Introduction • The goal of the study was to look at the different numbers and species of Aquatic Invertebrates living in winter streams in the Rocky Mountains. http://www.mbgnet.net/fresh/slide/pict/19.htm
Questions • Does the Stream Morphology and Chemical Composition play a huge roll to the life of Aquatic Invertebrates living there through the winter? • Do many Aquatic Insects inhabit the Streams throughout the winter season? • Hypothesis: How do factors of dissolved O2, pH, temperature, elevation, and TOC (Total Organic Carbon) affectthe species richness, and species density of aquatic invertebrates in fresh water streams during the winter?
Stream Selection • Streams Located on Same Mt. in Similar areas • Known and similar elevation between streams • Known Order of Stream • Similar Stream Morphology • Similar Slope
Location of Streams Site 2 WCC 2900’ Site 3 CC 2800’ Site 4 CC 2700’ N Site 1 WCC 3050’ W E S Headwaters of WCC Headwaters of CC
Sample Site 1 West Chicago Creek • The stream was more narrow here and it was much more protected by the snow. There was rich sediment in the bottom of the stream here.
Sample Site 2 West Chicago Creek • This site was closer to peoples personal land and that may have affected the water quality. The stream here begins to get wider and is still protected by snow.
Sample Site 3 Chicago Creek • Here the Stream is wider, pebbles and rocks make up the bottom. There is much less organic Material here, and the vegetation is Conifers instead of predominantly willow. Ice dominates the stream.
Sample Site 4 Chicago Creek • Here again the dominant vegetation is willows. The stream is at its widest and the bottom is covered with rocks. The stream is covered with ice.
Sample Collecting Techniques • pH Probe • Temperature Probe • Water Sample Collection • Strainer to collect Aquatic Inverts • Send the Samples to Louisville Water Lab
Data Analysis Toolsat Louisville • Laboratory TOC Analyzer • Multifunctional Probe : Chlorophyll, Dissolved O2, TDS • Turbidimeter
Results • I was able to collect 2 samples from each stream. These are represented on the graphs on the next page. • Each sample was tested for: Temp, pH, TOC, DO, Chlorophyll, and Turbidity
Similarities Between Graphs • Temperature goes down by less than a degree as elevation drops in both streams • The TOC goes up a fraction as elevation goes down, this is almost negligible.
Differences Between Graphs • In Chicago Creek there is no chlorophyll or insects found. While in WCC both the chlorophyll and # of insects found increased with elevation. • In WCC the DO is lower at higher elevations, while in CC it is stable throughout • Turbidity decreases with elevation in CC but increases with elevation in WCC
Insects Found: I wasn’t able to identify this insect however if slightly resembles beetle larvae. Found at Site 1. • This Insect is likely a Stonefly Larvae – They feed on plant matter and TOC. They live in the benthic area of streams. Found at Site 1. • This insect began to decompose before I was able to identify it. However it is likely a Stonefly Larvae or a Mayfly Larvae- They cling onto rocks in the bottom of streams and also eat detritus and plants. Found at Site 2.
Discussion and Conclusions • The main question I was looking at is pretty inconclusive. I didn’t collect enough data to show aquatic insect species diversity in CC. • I did find that CC had less Chlorophyll and I didn’t find any insects there. So it is possible that there is a correlation but more testing is necessary to find out for sure.