Pond and Stream Invertebrate Life

Pond and Stream Invertebrate Life


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Discover an amazing underwater world.

Pond-dipping for grown-ups! Learn how to find and identify freshwater creatures, exploring their habitats and finding out about their often bizarre life cycles. Use microscopes, keys, field guides and expert tuition to get to know some of the tiny creatures that share our planet.

This course is run at CAT by Aberystwyth University. Please book the course through Aberystwyth University online or by calling 01970 621 580 before booking accommodation at CAT.

Key information

  • Duration: three days
  • Upcoming dates: please see booking section below for all available dates
  • Start and finish times: starts at 10am
  • Fees: £120; concessions £100 (paid via Aberystwyth Universsity). Optional full board accommodation at CAT £130 (shared) or £170 (single)
  • Includes: tuition, all materials, full board accommodation
  • What to bring: waterproof clothing is recommended

What you will learn

If you have fond childhood memories of dipping nets in to ponds and streams to catch newts and sticklebacks and of collecting frogspawn, then this is the course for you.

Build on this elementary knowledge and explore further the lives of the many invertebrate animals that make up a freshwater ecosystem.

Field visits will be made to ponds and streams here at CAT where different sampling techniques will be used to collect aquatic organisms.

With the specimens indoors, their amazing diversity, adaptations and life cycles will be revealed with the aid of microscopes, identification keys and, of course, help from the tutor.

The monitoring and management of ponds and streams to both asses their general status and to improve their biodiversity will be covered briefly.

During field work, a variety of techniques will be used to collect specimens. These will be observed, identified as far as is feasible and recorded in the laboratory with the aid of microscopes and reference literature. Selected examples will be studied in greater depth to cover life cycle and structural adaptations to habitat.

The course introduces students to the methods used to sample and monitor of ponds and streams, and touches on the management of these habitats in order to maintain or improve their biodiversity.

Seminars cover:

  • Overview of the physical and chemical environment of different pond and stream habitats that impact on aquatic invertebrates.
  • How to keep a field/practical notebook of observed data.

Field work and practical workshops cover:

  • Methodology used to collect/sample a wide range of freshwater invertebrate groups
  • Identification (to an appropriate level) of the common invertebrates in ponds and streams
  • Using reference keys
  • Observation of living material to observe structural and behavioural adaptations
  • Investigation of life cycles and trophic levels of major groups
  • Keeping a field/practical notebook of observed data

This course is run at CAT by Aberystwyth University and can be taken as part of a Higher Education Certificate in Field Ecology. Please book the course through Aberystwyth University online or by calling 01970 621 580 before booking accommodation at CAT.

Meet your tutors

Phillip Ward

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