Alina Avanesyan
Among the redwoods -- Muir Woods

My first adventures in the aquatic world

– April 20, 2018

Being almost exclusively ‘terrestrial’ person in my research it has been quite an interesting experience for me to “get wet” with both Dr. Lamp’s lab and his Aquatic Entomology class. Although I am a TA in this class I fully participate in all the student activities. It’s fun, but also I can’t stop being surprised of how different things are under water. Well, here are my first impression:

The first surprise for me was the fact that apparently there is no such thing as “traditional” plant-insect interactions in aquatic communities. Everyone (all insects) eats almost everything (all leaves which fall in a stream), and all “tastes” the same as long as it provides enough nutrients.

I also didn’t know that it is not a leaf itself that attracts aquatic insects, but a biofilm - a bunch of different microorganisms which stick to each other and to a surface of a leaf. I learned that “the leaf with such biofilm for aquatic insects is like a toast with peanut butter for us: a toast itself is edible of course, but with peanut butter it is a completely different food” (borrowed from Becca W.)

Below are some pictures from my first collections and insect identifications.