SEE the steps for Benthic Macroinvertebrate Monitoring
Print the equipment and steps for Benthic Macroinvertebrate Monitoring in Word or in Adobe Reader .
1. Choose a monitoring site. Lay the white plastic sheet on a level place.
2. Write the current weather, recent weather, surface condition of water, color and odor of water, clarity of water, wildlife observations, latitude, longitude, time of day, and depth of water on the data sheet.
3. Fill the large white buckets and the ice trays with water from the monitoring site.
4. Check the water temperature and pH.
|Be sure to hold the water thermometer under the water and stir it for 2 minutes. After you take the water temperature, hang the thermometer on a tree limb or bush and check the air temperature.
|Use pH strips to test the pH of the water.
No more than 10 minutes should pass between taking the water temperature and pH and collecting the samples.
5. Choose an area 3 feet by 3 feet (or 1 meter by 1 meter) in a regular part of the stream.
|It is better to choose a place with small and large rocks since macroinvertebrates like to attach themselves to the rocks in the water.
12. Two people should enter the stream with each holding the pole attached to the kick net.
|One side of the kick net should be flat on the stream floor. It should lean backward (downstream) at an angle. Students should face the net upstream so the water runs through the net.
13. One person should enter the water upstream and walk gently until they stand about 2 or 3 feet in front of the net.
14. Kick or shuffle the feet forward toward the kick net for 5 minutes. Use the stop watch as a timer.
|Stir up the sediment. Pick up any rocks, sticks, or leaves and rake them off into the net.
15.Carefully lift the net from the bottom in a scooping motion so that the macroinvertebrates will not fall out of the net. The net should not lay flat on the water.
16. Carry the net out of the water and place it on the white sheet of plastic.
We used a white plastic shower curtain. It's inexpensive and dries quickly.
17. Use the tweezers or forceps to look through everything that was collected in the net.
|Look for anything that moves. Spread algae or anything slimy around with the tweezers or forceps. There might be a something hiding there. Use a hand held magnifier to look more closely.
18. If you find something, pick it up carefully with the tweezers or forceps and place it in the ice tray compartment. Be careful not to harm the defenseless creatures!
19. Take the field guide and study the shape, size, and color of each one. Compare them to the pictures in the field guide. Decide what species they are and mark it on the data sheet.
|It won't be long until you will be able to identify the more common macroinvertebrates without a picture.
20. Identify the macroinvertebrates and place them back in the water.
|Some people who use this method take the macroinvertebrates back to the classroom to identify them, but we did not want them to die. We always put them back into the water where we found them.
21. Rinse the ice trays and buckets, kick net, and the plastic sheet.
|When you get back to the school, rinse the buckets, ice trays, plastic sheet with water and make sure they are dry before you put them away. Don't forget to wash your hands.
22. Evaluate your findings using the Pollution Tolerance Index. You will find the directions on the data sheet.
- Use waders, boots, and/or gloves if you are not sure if the water is polluted.
- Wear shoes or boots with a good grip.
- Wash your hands or any part of the body that got wet.
- If you have open cuts, don't get water on them.
- If the water is high or very swift, do not go in the water.
- If the water is very cold, be careful of hypothermia.
- Always take an adult with you and make sure someone knows the location of your monitoring site.
|You are working hard, fellow detectives! It's time to identify