Ah, yet another incredible lab last week. My freshwater ecology class set out to the Root River on Thursday to explore the fascinating world of macroinvertebrates. Okay, I’m kidding a little here. Macroinvertebrates are not the most exciting subject in environmental biology for me; however, collecting them was a blast. My friend Peter Borash and I traveled up-river with our waders, a fine-mesh net, plastic jar, and a tweezers looking for as many macroinvertebrates that we could find. Peter and I usually have a few laughs during labs, because 90% of the time I grab the pair of waders that are too short for me, making it very difficult to trek in muddy or rocky habitats. I am notorious with Dr. Cochran (the chair of biology, and I think maybe takes part as Dean of students? Don’t quote me on that), anyway, I am notorious for destroying waders, which are basically rubber pants that keep you dry. I have ruined two pairs within two semesters of using them. The first time was during my sophomore year backpack shocking, I stepped on a nail that went right through my waders and into my foot –and now leaks a little in the left foot, and the second time I sat down in them, which again were too short and I ripped a huge hole in them. Whoops.
We also did some backpack electroshocking on the river to collect various species of freshwater fish. Mark Ross caught the second mudpuppy ever collected in a Saint Mary’s lab–which was pretty exciting. In addition, we caught hogsuckers, banded and rainbow darters, green sunfish, small mouth bass, and a stonecat or two. Saint Mary’s environmental biology labs have given me the best memories of my life. Here, your classmates become part of your family, I love that. Below is a photo of me and a quillback taken first semester of my junior year in my Fisheries Biology class. We caught it using an electric boat shocker.