The goal of this project is to quantify changes in the the abundance and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates across the summer during the extreme drought conditions of 2021. This project is part of a larger study investigating summer foraging behaviour of endangered coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and threatened steelhead trout (O. mykiss) in the Lagunitas Creek Watershed in Marin County. The aquatic invertebrates that we are studying are the primary prey of juvenile salmon and trout rearing in this sytem. We sampled aquatic macroinvertebrates using three different methods (drift nets, pan traps, benthic scraping) at multiple time points in spring and summer 2021, including at 5 different sites. As the summer progressed, water flow, temperature, and dissolved oxygen changed across the summer - but presumably at different rates across our sites, which we expect will alter the community composition of aquatic macroinvertebrates. By understanding the spatial and temporal availability of aquatic macroinvertebrate prey, we can better understand the opportunities for foraging and growth of juvenile salmonids rearing at these sites.
Note that this work will be performed in person, on campus. The role of the student will be to sort invertebrate samples taken in the field, identify organisms down to Family level, and measure the length of all organisms. Sorting and identification will be done using a dissecting microscope in the lab. Students will be trained in these areas the first few weeks, and then will be expected to work largely independently.
No prior experience is required, but skills and/or coursework in any of these areas will be advantageous and should be mentioned in your application:
An interest in fish ecology/freshwater ecology
Experience with using a microscope and/or a dichotomous key
Experience in managing data in spreadsheets in Excel and/or Google Sheets
Invertebrate identification skills