Watershed Ecology receives grant to study freshwater snails in the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic Area
Our Watershed Ecology team will be working with Andrew Weber and Don Hamilton from the National Park Service in the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic Area to perform an inventory of freshwater snails next year.
Tanya Dapkey, Danielle Odom and Stefanie Kroll will be working alongside Drexel graduate student Emma Guelzow to perform an extensive survey of the river in order to understand what factors are related to freshwater snail abundance and distribution. In the region there have not been thorough studies of freshwater snails alongside their more famous relatives, mussels and aquatic insects.
We will use environmental DNA (eDNA), collected from water samples, to look for species that we may not be able to find in our standard sampling techniques.
We will also be collaborating with Arthur Bogan and Jamie Smith from the North Carolina Natural History Museum.
The study will begin in Summer, 2022, so we'll keep you updated when it begins!
Image from Freshwater Gastropods of North America, Mid-Atlantic species gallery: https://www.fwgna.org/FWGMA/gallery.html
by Tanya Dapkey
Throughout the month of May, the watershed ecology team here at the Academy drove all over Pennsylvania and New York to sample headwater streams of the Delaware River. 9 people split into two teams visited 25 sites, and collected 25 water, 50 macroinvertebrate, and 10 eDNA samples.
It was an intense 3 weeks of sampling, but we found some exciting bugs. Headwater streams are known for being colder, smaller and full of diversity. Our favorite finds were the stoneflies, the patterns on their backs rivaling the intricate designs of ancient earthenware.
We are now in the process of analyzing the water chemistry, sorting and identifying the macroinvertebrates and running the eDNA samples for fish and mollusk species. It's exciting to discover what these streams can tell us about the resiliency of the Delaware River as our world continues to feel the effects of climate change.