Skip to main content

Metamorphosis in the Classroom


A concept that Trout in the Town wants to work on, produce printed educational material for and take into schools is "Mayfly in Classrooms". Through this, students would learn about and witness the lifecycle of iconic invertebrates as well as experiencing real-life hatches on their very own local "outdoor classrooms". Crucially, the accompanying educational material would include accounts of how each and every facet of the aquatic AND riparian (terrestrial) habitats are interdependent.

Aquatic invertebrates lend themselves to education about aquatic conservation very readily. Their biology perfectly illustrates requirements for good aquatic habitat. They also play a pivotal role in linking aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. These less well known aspects of their biology would (for most people) include the crucial subsidies that aquatic invertebrates make to terrestrial predators once they metamorphose and take to the air. In this way, calorific energy that has arisen in the aquatic habitat is transferred into the diet of terrestrial predators like birds, bats and spiders. An important aspect of this process is the way that the sun's energy is captured and fed into the food chains beneath the water surface in a direct pathway (i.e. in the case of mayfly nymphs grazing on algae that flourish on the sunlit stream bed). However, it is equally important to know that the terrestrial habitat also gives subsidies of energy back to the stream food chains too. There is a massive (but indirect) supply of the sun's energy from terrestrial habitats into aquatic food chains. Tree leaves (that have trapped energy by photosynthesis during summer) fall into the river in autumn. So called "shredder" invertebrates feed on this "leaf litter" and are, in turn, eaten by predators. Aquatic predators are also subsidised more directly by bankside vegetation when invertebrates drop from leaves to make unplanned crash-landings in the stream.

Everything is linked.

To conserve the aquatic, you must equally look after the riparian (and vice versa). A good lesson for everyone, whether you are in a classroom or not?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Presume to Remove Weirs? (with River Dove Case Study)

Weirs and the Backwards Ways that Rivers Work One of my favourite sayings on river restoration is a mangled quote from a movie

"...boxing is an unnatural act. Everything in boxing is backwards: sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step backwards...but step back too far and you ain't fighting at all".

So my mangled version starts out "Everything in rivers is backwards...". Basically, I never seem to run out of new examples of "what SEEMS to happen in a river is actually the complete opposite of what really happens".



The rest of this article looks at many of the "backwards" things about weirs and rivers - and finishes off with a real-world case-study that is playing out right now on the River Dove.

One spoiler alert is that, from an ecological point of view, it is almost always safe to assume that:

The best biological outcome for a river is the removal of some or all of an artificial weir. 
Now, I don't expect you to believe that…

CATCH in Wincanton and News of the First Recorded Wild Brown Trout Following Their Hard Work

Blog posts are like London Buses it seems!

This one is just a very short "Congratulations" to the Folks at CATCH (Community Action to Transform the Cale Habitat) and the video put out by Wincanton Window (embedded below).



All of the folks in the partnership mentioned in the video have done HUGE amounts of work (from classroom education projects to habitat working parties and endless enthusiasm for engaging more people in their local river and much more besides).

A big disclaimer from me is that, although this project is supported by/affiliated with our Trout in the Town project - it has been Mike Blackmore who has fulfilled that role for the WTT rather than myself.

So massive well done to all involved (especially you Gary Hunt!)- it is wonderful to see all of the fish and wildlife coming back to the Cale. Of course, it is absolutely delightful to see that wild brown trout put in an appearance as well!

It seems to be all the rage for recovering urban stream projects in the &q…

Birmingham and Coventry's Urban Waterways

It's about time for a new blog post and I thought it would be good to flag up some of the investigations that I've been doing in conjunction with Waterside Care (which, in itself, is supported by Keep Britain Tidy).

As well as initial investigations on the River Cole around the Shire Country Park and Burberry Brickworks, more recent forays to the little Westley Brook, River Sowe, Stonehouse Brook and a little stream in the Holly Wood Local Nature Reserve (between Great Barr and Queslett) have seen me criss-crossing the M6 and M69 and the surrounding areas.


What always surprises me is just how much of the Black Country/Coventry area is essentially "floating" on a vast network of underground watercourses which suddenly pop up into daylight in surprising places. Of course this puts a lot of pressure onto the biology of these streams - not only from the physical "encasing" of their channels in brick and concrete (both above and below ground).

It is the ever-pre…