Here is one of our ponds we put in last November and already we are recording over 80 insect organisms from six different species (Seed shrimp Cypris sp, Pond olive Cloeon dipterum, Mosquito larva Cullex pipiens, Water flea Daphnia pulex, Crane fly larva Tipulidae and Non-biting midge larva (bloodworms) Chironomidae).
We have been finding lots of mosquitoes, mostly larvae as well as pupae (see picture above) and adults. The pupae live in water for up to 4 days and do not eat during this stage. They are found floating at the surface taking in oxygen through two respiratory trumpets on the top of the cephalothorax (the head and thorax are fused). The abdomen is made up of moveable segments with two paddles at the end. The pupae are referred to as ‘tumblers’ as when they are disturbed they dive in a tumbling motion and then float back to the surface. The adult mosquito emerges from the pupal case straight to the surface.
This summer as part of their undergraduate thesis; Sam, Callum, Susan and Ellen (picture above) will continue the research that started last summer into the variables that affect pond colonisation.
Here is a quick snap from one of our garden ponds along the rural – urban gradient.
This year the pond team put on another interactive show as part of Meet Mother Nature exhibit for Reading Science Week 2012. Those keen enough to get grubby and pond dip were able to see the early forms of pond life that are colonising the University campus ponds already this year.
Here is a snap shot of the work done in the first week of November to create our first set of wildlife ponds.
*fish not included
New ponds are going to be created along an Urban to Rural gradient across Reading. The work is scheduled to take place over the next few weeks and will see the creation of 15 new ponds. These ponds will be located in volunteer private gardens and will be left to colonise naturally, hopefully giving us an indication of the colonisation potential across different areas of Reading.
Thanks goes to our volunteers, for offering their gardens to be part of this research and to Pond Keeper, who have supplied the pond liner and underlay.
Our four Undergraduate Zoologists Alex, Verity, Chelsea and Evan. Are currently working on our Latin square expriment, which is looking at variables that affect pond colonisation. For more info visit Our Research page.
This is our other sampling method being used by Chelsea & Evan. Credit goes to Evan for making these simple yet effective samplers from recycled materials at zero cost.