Partner Profile: Creating a baseline
Understanding links between stream life & hemlock forests
In the stream
Dying hemlocks: what we know about their impact on waterways
Photo courtesy of the North American Benthological Society.
Dying hemlocks in the Smokies: what’s the impact on waterways HERE?
With their baseline lists, they’ll be able to compare aquatic macroinvertebrates in healthy hemlock forests to those in dying hemlock forests, and also to notice changes in stream life over time.
They chose aquatic macroinvertebrates in particular because this group includes indicator species, which means that changes in their numbers or health indicate conditions in the stream are changing. They work well as indicator species because they require the right combination of temperature, acidity, and water clarity, among other factors, to survive. If hemlock death changes the streams, the macroinvertebrates will be the first to let us know.
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Return to Dispatches from the Field: Issue 2.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...