By Matt Wilson, Entomologist at Stroud Water Research Center
We were curious to find out what are the dominant stream taxa across the Great Plains, Eastern Temperate Forest, and Northern Forest ecoregions?
For most field ecologists – myself included – we tend to focus on a few research questions and/or geographic areas. As a result, it can be natural to incorporate what we see in our research and in our samples into our mental model of which taxa are more broadly common in streams.
In other words, if we focus our research on the changes resulting in headwater streams from agriculture then most of what we see reflects the animals present in small streams and the tolerant taxa found in agriculture. Or if we focus on conservation of a specific watershed then our mental model has a tendency to narrow in geography. To compensate for this, and remove any personal bias from taxa selections, I took advantage of a dataset that is both professionally curated and publicly available from the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC; http://waterqualitydata.us/).
This dataset included decades of samples from the US Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, and NWQMC collected across the United States and a few select sites in Canada.
By Lauren Allen, Learning Media Design Center @CMU
By Dr. John Morse, Clemson University
The number of freshwater macroinvertebrate taxa occurring in eastern North America is much greater than the number imaged and annotated in this project.
How were the project’s taxa chosen?
Why are annotations provided sometimes for a genus, sometimes for less-refined levels of taxonomy such as a family or an order? What criteria were used to decide the amount of detail provided in the annotations?
At a minimum, the level of annotation provided for each taxon is the level needed to distinguish it from other taxa imaged in this project. At the level of order and family, our annotations will often distinguish the taxon from all other North American taxa, but for families with multiple genera we did not attempt to annotate genera sufficiently to distinguish them from other North American genera that are not imaged.
Barbour, M.T., J Gerritsen, B.D. Snyder, & J.B. Stribling. 1999. Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for Use in Streams and Wadeable Rivers: Periphyton, Benthic Macroinvertebrates, and Fish. Second Edition. EPA 841-B-99-002. U.S. Environmental Protectin Agency, Office of Water, Washington, D.C.
*Available from https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/20004OQK.PDF?Dockey=20004OQK.PDF
By Andrea Krautz
Powdermill's Entomologist Andrea Kautz attended the Entomological Society of America's annual meeting for the North Central Branch in Cleveland, OH to present a poster (below) on www.macroinvertebrates.org project.
Being a meeting full of entomologists, many enthusiastic visitors dropped by her poster. Some were interested in aquatic entomology, while others were interested in gigapixel image technology and how it may apply to their area of study. The project received some positive feedback on the layout and functionality of the website, as well as suggestions for improvements such as iincluding aquatic macro collection protocols, or instructional videos, for a more complete teaching and learning package.
Few people seem to be aware that imaging technology has come this far, and are very impressed at what we are able to achieve!
An interdisciplinary team