Friday, October 15, 2010

ASI 345 - Saturday field experience

To gain a better understanding of the river science material and to witness the power of Dayton as a river city, the class paddled down the Mad River making a few key stops along the way. After launching the kayaks at Harshman Rd. in Eastwood MetroPark, we paddle downstream until reaching a gravel island in the middle of the river. Waiting there was Dr. Kavanaugh and Dr. Benbow. The class was split into two groups for fish shocking and macro-invertebrate sampling.

Dr. Kavanaugh reviewed the river continuum concept and talked to the students about habit, biological indicators, and what they mean for the health of the river. Each student took turns holding the shocker and rotated between holding the live well and scooping up with the stunned fish with axillary nets. The diversity of fish species we found and their intolerance of pollution indicated a vibrant and healthy river.

The results from macro-invertebrate sampling painted a similar picture. Students divided into groups of two and used D-frame nets to collect as many species as possible. The cool, clear water passing quickly over a small ripple provided a great habitat for macros; many of which are pollution intolerant.

After eating lunch on the island, the group continued paddling down to the convergence of the Mad and Great Miami and took out at RiverScape (after playing in the fountains of course). The paddle provided an opportunity for students to see Dayton in a whole new light preparing them to begin learning about river cities the next week.

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