Methods and Materials
Our equipment and materials were fairly basic. We had a LaMotte freshwater test kit for determining dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, and hardness. We used an Orion Portable Meter, 200 series, to test pH and take water temperatures. We at first planned to use microscopes to look for micro invertebrates and protozoans, but had to opt for a strictly visual survey due to time constraints. To perform the visual survey, we stood at the edge of the pond at the exact sites from which water was taken for the other tests. Then we counted as many different species as we could see, without attempting to identify any particular species. The visual survey areas were half circles approximately one meter in radius, extending from the shoreline where we were standing.
When we arrived at Lower Lake Mary on Friday, June 12, we opted to drive the highway alongside the lake bed to search for isolated ponds. Upon locating a likely site, we collected our equipment and hiked out to the lake bed. We found two isolated ponds in depressions in the lake bed approximately three quarters of a mile from the main body of the lake. We designated the first pond Site A, measured it with a meter tape, then we performed all tests and a visual survey at three "sub-sites": 2 at each end of the length of the pond, and 1 halfway in between. These tests took place between 9:00 and 10:00 am. The second pond, approximately 100 meters from Site A, we designated Site B. We performed the same measurements, tests, and surveys there, between 10:00 and 11:00 am.
Next we drove back to the main body of Lower Lake Mary and designated it Site C. We chose 3 "sub-sites", approximately 75 meters apart, on the north, west, and south shores of the lake. The east shore is extremely marshy and was inaccessible. We performed the same tests and surveys as completed at Sites A and B, between 11:15 am and 12:00 pm. Lacking appropriate equipment to measure Site C (too large for the meter tape), we approximated its dimensions.
Our next opportunity to return to Lower Lake Mary was on Wednesday, June 17, and this time we also brought along a nice Minolta camera and a professional photographer, Wayne Culver. We located two newly isolated ponds only about 300 meters from the main body of the lake, and designated them Sites D and E. We performed all the same measurements, tests, and surveys as at Sites A and B, using the same pattern of "sub-sites." The time frame for Site D was 9:30 and 10:30 am, and for Site E was 10:30 and 11:30 am. We took photos of the new sites, the main body of the lake, and then drove up to Sites A and B, only to discover that they had completely dried up in only 5 days! So we took photos of the dried up sites to show where they had been.
The weather condition on both days at Lower Lake Mary were similar: air temperatures in the mid to high sixties (Fahrenheit), and mildly breezy with occasional stiff gusts of wind. The basic ecological structure of Lower Lake Mary is a grassy basin with marsh in areas with standing water, interspersed with bodies of water varying in size and shape.
Methods & Materials
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