by Team Tessellated Darters (Bridget Enright, Denon Kanagarajah, Shengnan
HUANG, Jiaqi LI)
(Left) Shegnan and Jiaqi taking the collected phytoplankton sample from the lake and pouring it in the jar. We then took the jar to the lab and observed the phytoplankton under a microscope.
(Right) Jiaqi casting out the phytoplankton net to
gather a sample from Lake Opinicon.
(Left) QUBS students giving us some Gangnam Style before the evening seminars begin. Clearly its all work and no play out here.
(Right)This is Herman the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) found under a piece of wood in a wetland down the road from QUBS.
began at 6am for half of the groups as they took their turn at bird
watching. Led by our expert, Mark, we
learned about the more common bird inhabitants of Eastern Ontario. We observed an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), whose nest has been spotted by most of the
class during our many canoe trips on Lake Opinicon. A Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) was also observed, but the delight of the
morning was catching sight of the smallest bird native to Canada, the Ruby throated
Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). Although we did not see it, the largest bird
native to Ontario, the Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus
buccinator), made itself known to us with its unique and extravagant call
as it flew overhead. The entire class
gathered after breakfast for a fascinating lecture on amphibian biodiversity given
by Dr. Lougheed. The three main groups
of amphibians; frogs, salamanders and caecilians were described in terms of
their structural uniqueness and their differing global ranges. The morning continued with a round of student
seminars, where four of the Chinese students outlined the importance of wetland
conservation and current wetland status in China. This was followed by an intense discussion on
the social effects of creating and maintaining wetlands in the heart of some of
China’s biggest cities. A break in the
afternoon saw both Canadian and Chinese students enjoying the water by either
swimming or canoeing. The afternoon saw the class split into different groups
to rotate between various activities.
Dr. Lougheed and Kat lead a group into a marsh and old field, just down
the road from QUBS, in search of snakes.
Students wearing hip waders ventured into the water to find water snakes
(Nerodia sipedon), while a few people
on land overturned rocks and logs in search of garter snakes. In total between all the students, six water
snakes we obtained along with one spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) (affectionately named Herman). Next, Mingzhi demonstrated how to properly
cast a phytoplankton net into the water in order to collect a sample. All the
students got an opportunity to collect a sample, and then we were able to look
at the phytoplankton under a microscope.
We used a Government of Canada guide book to algae and phytoplankton to
identify species such as Volvox and Microcystis. Lastly, Dr. Wang taught us about water
chemistry, demonstrating how to take a secchi depth reading, oxygen saturation
reading and a pH reading. He also
outlined the importance of water chemistry in maintaining microhabitats in a
wetland. The day ended with four evening
lectures from the Chinese students describing the importance of the wetlands
surrounding the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.
The seminar session included an impromptu dance session where some
students showed their Gangnam Style skills.
Dr. Wang is
demonstrating how to use the oxygen metre to measure the percentage of
dissolved oxygen in the water. Different
parts of a wetland may have different percentages of dissolved oxygen, creating
microhabitats favourable to different species.