The Effect of Landscape on Streams

This topic submitted by TEAM STREAM! (Jessica Miller, Denise Riffle, and Genevieve Knight) ( Rifflede@ at 9:41 pm on 9/29/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Myers

The Effect of Landscape on Streams

By Team Stream!
(Jessica Miller, Genevieve Knight, Denise Riffle)
Myers 10:00-11:50 T/R
Thursday, September 28, 2000

We intend to study what effect landscape has on a stream. To accomplish this, we will survey aquatic life such as minnows and water striders, factors affecting the stream such as light, temperature, and entering debris, and elements of the stream such as width, depth, and water speed. We hypothesize that the stream will not act as a corridor and therefore we will find significant differences from one landscape to the next.
We came to this topic due to our interest in streams and aquatic life. As a class, under the excellent guidance of Chris Myers, it was decided that landscape will be included as a factor in each lab. This led to our eventual question of how a stream would differ across landscapes. Through this lab we plan to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of aquatic landscapes along with enriching our lives through discovery science.

The topic of landscape is relevant in terms of the research done by the class as a whole, and for the benefit of future students and disciples of Chris Myers. As well as in official stream studies such as those done by the EPA. It important to determine to what extent the surrounding landscape effects the overall health of the stream. If landscape is not considered when studying a stream, then it is possible that the results may be skewed. This lab will determine if researchers need to take landscape into consideration.
A list of literature is provided at the end of this proposal.

We will use a map to locate streams within three varying landscapes. We will visit the areas and find sections ten meters long with similar width, depth, and water speed. In each of these sections we will count schools of fish, and water striders along the ten meters using a visual scan. With a hula-hoop we will mark off three areas within the ten-meter section of the stream looking for other notable organisms such as invertebrates and insects. Every two meters along the ten-meter stretch of stream we will measure the width and depth (at the middle) of the stream at that point. We will set up traps with these hoops in order to collect debris entering the stream. Other factors we will measure include light and temperature.
We chose these methods based on what we are capable of measuring with our limited resources. We chose not to study microorganisms or do water testing because they are beyond our capabilities. We feel that our experiments are statistically sound because we asked for advice from our wonderful, omniscient teacher, Chris Myers. He is so great. (He has a neat tattoo.) We will ensure unbiased results through consistency in width, depth, and speed of the stream. We will ensure consistency in location by measuring and marking off ten meters and using the same size hoops. We will collect data ourselves before we use class time in order to develop a consistent method to use with the class.
The materials we plan to use include: a map to locate streams and various possible landscapes, a meter stick to measure the depth of the stream, a stopwatch and floating object (such as a cork) to measure the speed of the water, several hula hoops to mark off areas in which to observe other notable organism. The hoops will also be used along with a screen, sticks, and a stapler to construct a trap to catch entering debris. We will use a spectral refractometer to measure the average light in the area. We will use a large measuring tape to mark off the ten-meter stretch of stream and to measure width of the stream. We will also use a field guide to identify organisms. A rope will also be used to mark off the selected length of stream. We will call upon Chris Myers as a source of motivation and inspiration, with his eternal passion for science and nature.
The class will be involved in our lab by helping us to collect data. We will divide the class into three groups and hopefully take them out to three different sites. Each group will be headed by a Team Stream member. The class will help us make measurements and count organisms.


Date: _______ Location:______________

Width 1: _____ Depth 1:_____
Width 2: _____ Depth 2: _____
Width 3: _____ Depth 3: _____
Width 4: _____ Depth 4: _____
Width 5: _____ Depth 5: _____

Temperature: _____˚C Water Speed: ______m/sec Light: _______

# Water Striders: _______

# of Schools of Fish: <10 _______
10-50 _______
50-100 _______
100-200 _______
>200 _______

Hoop 1 Hoop 2 Hoop 3

Organisms and # found Organisms and # found Organisms and # found
__________ ___ __________ ___ __________ ___
__________ ___ __________ ___ __________ ___
__________ ___ __________ ___ __________ ___
__________ ___ __________ ___ __________ ___
__________ ___ __________ ___ __________ ___

Hoop Trap

Objects and # found
__________ ___
__________ ___
__________ ___
__________ ___
__________ ___

# of smiles by Chris Myers
________ smiles/minute
Week One: Scout out sites and pick locations.
Week Two: Build and place hula hoop traps to begin capturing debris.
Week Three: Check sites and record data.
Week Four: Check sites and record data.
Week Five: Check sites and record data.
Week Six: Check sites and record data. Attend NS, taught by Chris Myers.
Week Seven: Check sites and record data.
Week Eight: Check sites and record data. Begin analyzing data.
Week Nine: Clean up and analyze data. Work on final lab report.
Week Ten: Analyze data and finish lab report.

** On the day we have the class, we will use them to help collect our data that week.

We plan on calculating an average width, depth, temperature, speed and light of each location. We are going to show the average amount of organisms found per type of landscape and compare them. We will make a collective list of the entering debris. We will draw conclusions based on what is caught in our debris traps, in terms of where the debris comes from and what effect it may have on stream life. Then we will look for correlations between abundances of organisms and elements of the stream such as temperature, light, speed, width, depth, et cetera. We will compare these elements and the abundance of organisms between landscapes. We will use t-tests to determine the statistical significance of any differences we find from location to location. We will make a table with our numerical data and use bar graphs to visually demonstrate the comparisons between the separate landscapes.


Bertram et. al. “Oh Jesus Bugs”. 1998. Cummins: Natural Systems 1, Student Generated Lab.
Conquest et. al. “Implamentation of large-scale stream monitoring efforts: Sampling design and data analysis issues”. Biological Monitoring of Aquatic Systems. Boca Raton, Fl. Lewis Publishers, 1993. Page 69-90.
Greenwood and Metcalfe. “Minnows become nocturnal at low temperatures”. Journal of Fish Biology. Vol. 53. Issue 1. Page 25-32. July 1998.
Johnson and Gage. “Landscape approaches to the analysis of aquatic ecosystems”. Freshwater Biology. 1997. Vol. 37. No. 1, page 113-132.
Mode et. al. “Ranked set sampling for ecological research: accounting for the total costs of sampling.” Environmetrics. Vol. 10, Issue 2, page 179-194. March/April 1999.
Myers, Chris. “Science: Inspiration and Joy”. Natural Systems. September 28, 2000.
Petrik and Levin. “Estimating relative abundance of seagrass fishes: a quantitative comparison of three methods.” Environmental Biology of Fishes. Vol. 58, Issue 4, page 461-466. August 2000.
Poff. “Landscape filters and species traits: Towards mechanistic understanding and prediction in stream ecology”. Symposium on New Concepts in Stream Ecology. 1997. Vol.16. No. 2, page 391-409.
Schlosser. “Stream fish ecology: A landscape perspective”. Bioscience. 1991. Vol. 41. No. 10, page 704-712.
Severns, John. Student: Miami University and Employee: EPA. Email Interview. September 19, 2000.
Shaffer et. al. “A cumulative impact management plan for a forested wetland watershed in the Mississippi River Floodplain”. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 1992. Vol. 1. No.4, page 199-210.
With. “Movement responses to patch structure in experimental fractal landscapes”. June 1999.
Zimmer, “Walking on Water (the fishing spider).” (Brief Article) American Museum of Natural History April 2000

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