Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mussel Collecting at Hirundo

What an adventure we had at Hirundo!  Our science work in cooperation with the University of Maine and Hirundo Wildlife Refuge consists of collecting, analyzing and recording location, size and species of freshwater mussels to determine mercury levels in the ecosystem.  Students are learning how to work together as a team of scientists to paddle the stream in search of mussel middens.  Once found, they continue to work to make precise, consistent measurements of physical location, water depth and water clarity and also clean and bag the mussels.  Back in the lab, we dry and number each mussel, take measurements and record its species.  When finished, they are taken to the University to be incinerated and mercury levels are tested.  This was a fantastic experience ~ a great introduction to scientific research and the various career opportunities that are available to them.   I'm sure someday there will be several enthusiastic biologists from this very class!

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