Moravian senior biology majors instruct a local stream conservation group about techniques for monitoring water quality.

Professor of biology Frank Kuserk and three Moravian senior biology majors, Amanda de Villars, Andrew Mashintonio, and Amy Parrish, recently hosted a bio-monitoring workshop for members of the Fry’s Run Watershed Association (FRWA), a local conservation group.

The students are doing research on the Williams Township creek as part of their semester-long independent study project. Frank and his students instructed FRWA members how to perform a physical habitat assessment and how to use macro-invertebrates (insects, snails, worms, and crustaceans) as indicators of water quality. Mayfly, stonefly and caddis fly species, for instance, are sensitive to stream pollutants and usually absent from polluted waters, while leeches and blackfly larvae are better able to survive in poor quality water.

By identifying and counting macro-invertebrates present in samples, stream ecologists can measure changes that occur over time at a specific site, or they can compare the values at two different sites to see whether a pollutant or other disturbance affected water quality at one of the sites.

The FRWA volunteers plan to continue the bio-monitoring efforts as part of their commitment to protect and improve the quality of the stream and the surrounding watershed.