Ecology Day at Spraguebrook Park

This year the Biology and A.P. Biology students embarked on their annual Ecology day at Spraguebrook park to collect water quality data on the stream located in the park. The students are conducting water quality tests such as nitrate pollution related to agricultural runoff, dissolved oxygen and pH levels which aquatic organisms are dependent on.The students use chemical tests and digital probes to conduct the tests. Students also compose a Biotic index collection of insect macroinvertebrates to help determine pollution levels. All data is recorded in their lab journals. Once the data is compiled the students determine from the data analysis if the stream ecosystem is healthy. This year we had the unique opportunity to conduct a citizen science collaboration with Cornell University. Cornell sent an e DNA( environmental DNA) collection kit for Invasive aquatic species such as Lamprey and Goby fish. The students pumped stream water through collection filter and stored and labeled water samples to be shipped back to Cornell’s labs. The lab will do a PCR analysis to determine which invasive species have been present in the stream. The samples will be frozen for continued analysis in the upcoming years to study trends in watersystems in NY. Cornell will then send us the data which we can incorporate in our own study . Overall the students discovered the stream is healthy and that science can be fun!!!