Department

Department of Life Sciences

First Advisor

Will Clark, PhD

Description

Riparian zones and waterways play a key role in environmental health, but presently there is a clearly visible deterioration of the creek and river banks in southwest Wyoming. Invertebrates are a good indicator of stream and riparian health; they are sensitive to chemical and physical changes in their environment, they are a good gauge for the health and variety of plant life, and they possess a key role in the food web. Little Mountain in southwest Wyoming is going through several changes. Beavers have been reintroduced to Trout Creek on the north side of the mountain and there is a prospect of drilling on the mountain’s south side. Drawing on data collected on invertebrates along Trout Creek, models are created that indicate current stream and riparian health that will hopefully be used to insure a positive outcome for the environment in that region as well as other areas with similar climates and conditions. Invertebrates have been collected at five locations throughout their most active time of year; three day sites consisting of different microclimates (Alpine, beaver area, and big sagebrush area) in which aquatic invertebrates were captured with kick nets, terrestrial invertebrates with sweep nets, and two night locations in which bright light and sheets were used to collect nocturnal invertebrates. Preliminary results have shown greater numbers of invertebrates in the area affected by the beavers. The final results will be models that predict how certain changes or disturbances will effect this environment.

Comments

Oral Presentation, Wyoming INBRE

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The Effects of Microclimates on the Invertebrates of the Trout Creek Waters and its Riparian Zones

Riparian zones and waterways play a key role in environmental health, but presently there is a clearly visible deterioration of the creek and river banks in southwest Wyoming. Invertebrates are a good indicator of stream and riparian health; they are sensitive to chemical and physical changes in their environment, they are a good gauge for the health and variety of plant life, and they possess a key role in the food web. Little Mountain in southwest Wyoming is going through several changes. Beavers have been reintroduced to Trout Creek on the north side of the mountain and there is a prospect of drilling on the mountain’s south side. Drawing on data collected on invertebrates along Trout Creek, models are created that indicate current stream and riparian health that will hopefully be used to insure a positive outcome for the environment in that region as well as other areas with similar climates and conditions. Invertebrates have been collected at five locations throughout their most active time of year; three day sites consisting of different microclimates (Alpine, beaver area, and big sagebrush area) in which aquatic invertebrates were captured with kick nets, terrestrial invertebrates with sweep nets, and two night locations in which bright light and sheets were used to collect nocturnal invertebrates. Preliminary results have shown greater numbers of invertebrates in the area affected by the beavers. The final results will be models that predict how certain changes or disturbances will effect this environment.