Aquatic ecology in winter

Life abounds even in wintery streams and frozen lakes. Using fresh samples collected by XLAB staff the previous night, students compile the macrozoobenthos species composition of a mountain stream using stereo magnifiers and derive the ecological quality using contemporary indicators. Based on diagnostic photographs from the stream, students assess the structural quality of its channel and floodplain using a questionnaire. Physico-chemical data partly taken on-site by XLAB staff and partly measured by the students in the lab allow evaluating chemical water quality and show that stream water quality depends on conditions in the watershed.

In the afternoon, the focus is on producers and consumers of a lake’s plankton community. Species in plankton samples taken before class by XLAB staff are identified using high-quality microscopes and are used to characterize the lake’s trophic level. Water analyses made by the students are supplemented with our measurements made on-site the previous day. 

A 30-min talk introduces each of the two topics. Annual courses of the parameters treated are provided, expanding the basis for comparison and allowing a meaningful evaluation of the students‘ results in a wider context.

Time of year: any time 
Duration: one day
Maximal number of participants: 24

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