Kings Creek on
Konza Prairie offers an interesting look at the
diversity of organisms found in tallgrass prairie streams. Prairie
stream fauna include fishes,
macro-invertebrates, and other non-insect
live in the water and the
substrate of the stream bottom. They are an
important part of the stream
food web. The sun provides energy for plant
growth in and around the stream. Bacteria and fungi feed on dead plant
material. Herbivorous invertebrates feed on bacteria, fungi, algae, and
partially decomposed leaves. These invertebrates provide food for
predators, such as other invertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians and
LONG-TERM INVENTORIES OF KONZA STREAM INVERTEBRATES
PURPOSE: Researchers maintain a long-term inventory of diversity and abundance of stream invertebrates along reaches of King's Creek on Konza Prairie. Student collections will benefit the LTER researchers by archiving these aquatic insects in a quantitative measure that will aid them in their work.
METHODS: Students use Surber bottom samplers to collect stream invertebrates from selected areas along Kings Creek. Samples will be examined on white- bottomed trays used to carefully separate and identify the specimens. This process is called "picking". Using forceps and plastic pipettes to pick all aquatic invertebrates, any collected insects will be placed in vials and labeled for date, location, and collector. These specimens will be kept for future reference as part of the archive. Visit the aquatic macro-invertebrate species list to find the species found for the first time on Konza Prairie by students of the Schoolyard LTER program in 1999.
Aquatic - Refers to an organism that grows or lives in water.
Archiving - Collecting and preserving specimens for future reference.
Biological indicator - An organism whose occurrence in a particular area indicates whether or not that environment is ecologically healthy.
Collector - Aquatic insects that feed on fine material. Types of collectors include filterers and gatherers.
Community - Group of interacting organisms in a particular ecosystem.
Crustacean - An aquatic organism with jointed limbs, segmented body and an exoskeleton made of chitin.
Diatom - A microscopic one-celled alga whose walls are made of silica.
Dispersion - Spreading out or scattering.
Diversity - Number of different kinds of species in a particular habitat; a measure of biological differences.
Exoskeleton - The hard outside covering of an insect.
Fauna - Animals or animal life of a region or ecosystem.
Food web - The pathway of food sources between communities of different organisms where energy and nutrients are passed from one organism to another.
Gallery forest - Forested or wooded area that lines a stream or river.
Headwaters - The source of a stream.
Herbivorous - An animal that feeds on plants.
Invertebrate - Animal without a backbone or internal skeleton, but with an external skeleton made of chitin.
Macro-invertebrate - An invertebrate large enough to be seen without magnification.
Oligochaete - Any of a class of segmented worms such as the earthworm.
Population - Group of organisms of the same species living in a particular region.
Predator - An organism that hunts and kills other animals for food.
Quantitative - How much there is of something you can measure and represent with numbers.
Reach - A uniform section of stream with a repeating chain of physical characteristics and habitat types, such as pool-riffle-pool.
Scours - Erosive action of flowing water in streams that removes and carries away material from the stream bed and stream banks.
Scrapper - Organisms that feed by removing organic material from objects in the creek.
Shredder - Organisms that feed by cutting and tearing organic matter.
Substrate - Inorganic material that forms the stream bed.
Surber bottom sampler - Specialized net with a defined sample area used to collect stream invertebrates.
Turbellarian - Any of a class of free-living flatworms such as planaria.