Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2015 Stream Insects BioBlitz

 This year's BioBlitz at Great Basin National Park featured Stream Insects. Dr. Boris Kondratieff from Colorado State University came as the lead taxonomist and gave the opening workshop.

Then it was time to head out to Upper Lehman picnic area to practice catching stream insects.

Those who had never seen them before were quite surprised.

We also had experts who were trying to find unusual specimens.

One of the most entertaining aspects was watching Dr. Kondratieff and Dr. Nelson speak Latin as they batted species identifications back and forth. 

With some specimens collected, it was time to sort.

Then we split up into a couple groups to tackle different streams.

Despite the rain, everyone persevered and found a variety of critters.

The next day the sun came out. Some groups hiked up high into the snow, others drove to remote locations in the park, and our group traveled along Snake Creek. We started at the end of the road.

We were missing the picnic tables from the day before!

As we moved down the stream we encountered different organisms, particularly in the springs, where the number of juicy cranefly larvae were quite numerous.

The afternoon brought some interpretive programs, which the kids just loved. I was so grateful to my mother-in-law for sharing the experience with them.

They enjoyed making their own insect in an activity called Frankenbug.

Sunday was also a beautiful day, with short morning field trips.

Then it was time for lunch and wrapping it all up with the preliminary results. Many stream insects were identified to species level, and some larvae were taken back to the lab to see what they would hatch into.

It was a fascinating BioBlitz, and I'm sure some people will never think of streams in quite the same way again!

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