Tessa Stewart shares her experience helping Dr Deborah Bower in the field for the Dynamic Lagoons project.

One of the dynamic lagoon projects undertaken in 2020, was comparing aquatic invertebrate communities in dams and lagoons within the New England Tablelands region. The project aimed to compare overall biodiversity and species richness in damns and lagoons and determine if the two communities differ.  We also looked at whether the type of waterbody affected the number and type of aquatic invertebrates they inhabited.

We sampled a total of 10 lagoons and 23 dams over a 32-day time period during November and December. At every waterbody, we took 4 samples at the North, South, East and West points of the waterbody and tested the water quality. Many of the sites required us to wade through water which was a new experience for all the interns. After the samples were collected, they were taken back to the lab for identification. Identifying the aquatic invertebrates was a new experience for all the interns, which we all adapted well to. We managed to identify 1,135,448 individuals across 38 different taxons, some of the most interesting invertebrates identified included mayfly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs and caddisflies. Once the statistical analysis was completed, we discovered there was no statistical significance between the different waterbodies. The project was an amazing opportunity and was a great experience learning a diverse range of skills that have become highly valuable to all the interns who helped with the project. We gained experience in the field and met many new people who shared their experiences with us.

This was an opportunity of a life-time to work with Deborah Bower and be part of the Dynamic Lagoons project. Contributing to an amazing project like Dynamic Lagoons, made us realise how valuable the ecological function of upland wetlands in the Northern Tablelands are to the aquatic invertebrate communities. 

Dynamic Lagoons Blog – Tessa Stewart

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