The Compleat Angler (benthic invertebrate version)

A lovely fall day beckoned and I grabbed my gear and head to Holmes Run in Alexandria with anticipation of landing some big ones. No not of the vertebrate variety, but benthic invertebrates, affectionately known as “stream bugs”. I arrived midmorning with my kicknet, sieve, and forceps, a somewhat different toolkit than Izaak Walton might recommend… Being of a scientific bent’ I also had my YSI sonde and water collection bottles… 


The water was clear and fast flowing and if we’d been in a pristine, forested in watershed in the mid Atlantic, we could have expected to find a vast diversity of “stream bugs”. However, we are in the middle of Northern Virginia . . embedded in suburban deveopment. And the stream rocks had a furry mat of algae covering their surface.

Would there be an abundance of bugs? How many species and which kinds? And what did the water quality data show?

Tune into my next blog posting for the answers . .. 😉

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Eagle festival 2015

Seamus Riley  and I are here at Mason Neck for the 2015 Eagle festival. joining another Mason group from Point of View. Good turnout of folks interested in new facility. Visits from Park Fox and a colonial gentleman!

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Teaching Envi Sci

Undergraduate majors will benefit from the new teaching labs at PEREC. Here are students studying freshwater algae this spring in EVPP 301.

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Water sampling in Accotink Cr

Assistant researcher Mahdi Mojarrad and I visited Accotink Creek this morning to conduct our normal quarterly water quality monitoring for Fairfax City. It was a very chilly morning and there was ice covering much of the creek.

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In one place along Daniels run we had to break through the ice with our sledgehammer.

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The water looks very clear but the temperature was barely above freezing and the conductivity was elevated due to road salt runoff.