Edinburgh Shoreline staff and volunteers spent a very pleasant Saturday in the Brunstane Burn with the Forth Rivers Trust, learning to survey invertebrates. Many thanks to Amy and Jonathan for spending a Saturday with us.
The Trust gave us an insight into some of the work that they do on the Almond and the Avon monitoring invertebrates (see here to find out more about their work). RiverFly monitoring involves monitoring the levels of 8 particular species of cased caddisfly larvae, caseless caddisfly larvae, mayfly larvae, stonefly larvae and freshwater shrimp. No Killer Shrimp, please! These are all key indicator species of water quality, and by monitoring the numbers found in a particular river you can get an idea of the health of the water. You can find out more about the project here.
After learning about the project and studying invertebrate ID guides, it was time to get in the water! We used our standard issue RiverFly nets, gently disturbed the river bed to encourage the larvae into our nets, and brought our catch out onto land to see what we’d caught. We used spoons to scoop up the individual invertebrates, separated them into dishes, observed through magnifying glasses and got to grips with ID. Some of these are just a few millimetres across! As well as the invertebrates we were looking to record we also found leeches, water fleas, minuscule molluscs, a Bullhead fish and even an eel – a highlight of the day for some!
Many thanks to the Forth Rivers Trust for allowing us to use their photos.
We know that there are water quality issues with the Brunstane Burn, so we’d like to help monitor this by doing regular RiverFly surveys. Our data will be submitted to the RiverFly partnership, and SEPA is alerted should invertebrate levels drop too low. We’ll be getting together regularly along 3 spots on the Brunstane Burn. Let us know if you’d like to get involved by contacting our project manager on firstname.lastname@example.org