Freshwater habitats, the flora and fauna?

It seems to me that freshwater habitats are not really being surveyed here in NYC. Plenty of people look at water birds, a few people photograph fish, and some people photograph water plants, as long as they are large enough and picturesque-looking, but beyond that no one seems to be searching on or below the surface of freshwater habitats, including ponds. And this is a shame, because freshwater contains an amazing biodiversity.

All you really need is a pond net (Amazon has a TetraPond telescoping net for about 35 dollars) and one or two white enamel dishes (or similar) to dump the contents into. Add some pond water to the dishes and you should be all set. You probably don't need rubber boots or waders, as long as your pond net is the telescoping kind.

Don't worry if you have no idea what anything is. The great advantage of iNaturalist is that you don't have to know what an organism is, as long as you can get an OK photo of it. Some of the organisms you will see are quite small, so you will need to be able to take decent close-ups.

On the surface of ponds there are duckweeds and water striders; in the water there are water beetles, water snails, copepods, nematodes, and a great variety of pond weeds and green algae. If you are lucky you will find the larvae of dragonflies and damselflies.

And, if you have access to a microscope and put a drop of pond water into a cavity slide, it is a whole other world!

Posted on 30 June, 2020 13:09 by susanhewitt susanhewitt

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 25, 2020 11:44 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Water Net (Hydrodictyon reticulatum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 25, 2020 11:53 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Cyanobacteria (Phylum Cyanobacteria)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 25, 2020 11:56 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Greater Duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 25, 2020 11:58 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Curled Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 26, 2020 12:13 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Canadian Waterweed (Elodea canadensis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 26, 2020 12:14 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Water Net (Hydrodictyon reticulatum)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 26, 2020 01:49 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 26, 2020 02:09 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Duckweed (Lemna minor)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 28, 2020 01:05 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Chinese Mystery Snail (Cipangopaludina chinensis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 28, 2020 01:06 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Bladder Snails (Family Physidae)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

June 28, 2020 01:07 PM EDT

Comments

As usual Susan, you are an inspiration, so thank you for that.

I recently managed a couple of rushed, crummy photos of an otter in the creek behind our house (12 Mile Creek in Lexington, S.C.). We've lived here for 2 and 1/2 years, and I'm always fishing back there, and I had no idea it was around. Maybe it's new to the area. I also plan on setting a crab trap for crayfish to learn more about them. We called them crawdads in Kentucky when I was growing up. You're right about fresh water.

Thanks again,

Ray

Posted by rtwhitson3 over 3 years ago

An otter -- that is really great! I am not about to see one of those in Central Park, but still there is plenty of other cool stuff to be found.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

I often use the white dishes that take-out food in NYC often comes in. They work wonderfully with pond life and leaf litter creatures, they are free and pretty light weight. They also come with lids if you need to cover them. As a teacher, a stack of 15 -20 are pretty compact in the closet.

Posted by jholmes over 3 years ago

Good idea J!

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

Maybe you could create a project for the subject? I feel like when there's an interest in observations and they get identified, people take even more observations. I know it works on me :)
If you are interested, it would be nice to have one for the entire US....

Posted by merav over 3 years ago

Nice idea about a "Freshwater Life of North America" Project. However, I do have several on-going commitments already; in particular I have an iNat-based paper which I am supposed to be trying to finish with several co-authors, and I really need to buckle down on that.

Also I am not experienced on the pond life of North America. Back when I lived in the UK, in East Anglia I knew the local freshwater species pretty well, but that was a long time ago and a long way away.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

When it comes to creating and maintaining a brand new project, I view that as a serious commitment. There are some people who create a project and then just walk away from it. I don't like to do that, but if you want to take care of a project properly, that can be quite time-consuming.

Posted by susanhewitt over 3 years ago

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