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Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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2016/1/24 14:30
From Gettysburg
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I enjoy seining for aquatic insects. This year, I think I'll try to make this a bit more systematic and allow for comparison through different seasons.

Here's my plan (subject to change):
Survey three characteristic, local wild trout streams at least four times per year. Streams will be Falling Springs, Big Hunting Creek, and Yellow Breeches.

These streams include a "pure" limestoner (FS), a medium sized "semi" limestoner (YB) and a medium sized but fairly fertile freestoner (BHC). These streams all have good populations of wild trout, some stocked fish (a lot in YB), and are popular with fly fishermen.

Will pick out a good riffle with various habitat, conduct a seine sample in the exact spot with the exact kick method, and do this in January, April, July, and October. Macros will be identified and counted (not sure controlling for size, but this would be interesting, esp for mayfly ad stonefly nymphs). Conventional wisdom is that nymphs are larger in springtime before hatching, but how does species and size vary over the year? Are the nymphs fewer and smaller in October? Are caddis more prevalent in the autumn?

I'll re-fresh this thread as the season progresses. . . and we'll see what turns up.

Posted on: 12/21 17:34


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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2014/11/17 22:11
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I like where you are going with this.

I need to do a senior research project to finish my degree change. I am looking at selection pressures on S. trutta by microhabitat on a tailwater I fish. It's a very diverse from one half mile stretch to the next. Some areas have very high reproductive success but growth is poor. Other areas have extremely high growth but poor reproduction. Food and water conditions are the keys. Some areas have very high insect hatches and an abundance of nymphs year round. in other areas, crayfish and various forage fish make up the diet. Meanwhile I need to figure out how to quantify what is a good insect population versus a poor one. Everything else gets shock sampled.

Posted on: 12/21 17:49


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
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Neat idea, Dave. I'm looking forward to seeing what kinds of trends show up with your survey. Good stuff.

Posted on: 12/21 19:09


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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From Jersey Shore, PA
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Dave, some of your discoveries will prove very interesting/enlightening. Trust me on this.

Dave R.

Posted on: 12/21 19:25


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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I cant wait to see what you learn. I think it will be pretty interesting.

Posted on: 12/21 23:07


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Keep in mind that by only sampling riffles you are only surveying insects that live in the riffles and not the stream as a whole. Many insects such as burrowing mayflies, damselflies and dragonflies prefer slow water with a silty bottom. Just something to keep in mind. Interesting project though, good luck with it. Great to see people take more of an interest in their local water besides how many fish they can pull out of it. +100

Posted on: 12/22 8:36
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Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Cool idea. Looking forward to seeing your study as it progresses.

Posted on: 12/22 11:33


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Agreed. Looking forward to seeing what ya find.

Posted on: 12/22 12:03
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Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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From Tionesta PA
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Bookmarked.

Posted on: 12/22 17:46


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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most insects in January will be buried deep in substrate (hibernating). just like trout their metabolism slows way down.

Posted on: 12/22 17:59
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Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Maybe, but I bet the limestone is more consistent.

Agree on the riffle vs. pool and substrate thing. I'd pick variable locations and keep track by location. The results you get in heavy current, boulder bottom is different from moderate current gravel which is different than slow water silt. And the presence of aquatic vegetation further complicates it.

Posted on: 12/22 18:07


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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2011/11/27 21:57
From Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
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Dave, thanks for doing this and sharing it with the community. It sounds like a great project. I'm looking forward to seeing your results.

No offense to the OPs that discussed sampling other environments but in project management we call that scope creep which can kill a project. If you choose two more environments in the three difference creeks that means nine sets of data instead of three meaning more time to sample, analyze (and hopefully publish) data.

No matter when and where I fish, I always turn over rocks, logs, etc. to sample the aquatic life. I did this for my spin fishing brothers and nephews one time and they couldn't believe what they saw. I told them that's why I out fish them! LOL.

Anyway, it's times/things like this when I wished I still lived in PA. If we could use a standard format, I would extend the study and pick a different stream to share. After the findings, I would consider extending the study to different environments.

Don

Posted on: 12/25 7:55


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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It sounds like an interesting study.

Is there a particular question or questions that you're hoping to answer? What is it that you are trying to find out?




Posted on: 12/25 9:50


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons
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Thanks folks - nice to get so much encouragment. I'm looking forward to it.

I'll post the first sample data set in a week or two. At that point, I'll try to consider some more questions, but I'm mainly interested in seeing if there are differences in macroinvertebrate populations in a specific riffle during different seasons. Agree that a broader survey would be better, but as others have pointed out, this study needs some limitations.

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that pure limestone streams have greater biomass, but less species diversity. Will be fun to compare this to the semi-limestoner and freestoner.

I'm not sure if I'll try to control for other prey items that turn up in the net - sculpins, crayfish, aquatic worms, dace, etc. We'll see.

I'll also move this thread over to the Entomology forum eventually as well.

Posted on: 12/25 20:54


Re: Nymph Survey Through the Seasons

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Thanks for taking this on, Dave.

It will be educational for me, certainly, and for others, as well.

Looking forward to seeing results.

Posted on: 12/26 8:45
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