On September 6th, Dr. Deb Marr and her BIOL-L474 class took part in a Fish Diversity Lab. For this project, Dr. Marr partners with Daragh Deegan, a Fisheries Biologist with the Elkhart Public Works Office. This particular lab takes place in the St. Joseph River between the IU South Bend Pedestrian Bridge and the Twyckenham Bridge. Students that participated recorded data on fish species, length and mass of each fish, as well as the general health of each fish. This data is then used to provide information on water quality and the health of the fish community. The group of students collected data on 700 fish this year, which is new record! Pictured is a Rainbow Darter fish, which is very sensitive to pollution and silt and therefore serves as an indicator of good water quality.
Dr. Marr had this to say about her partnership with Daragh Deegan and the Elkhart Public Works Office: “I established the partnership with the Elkhart Public Works office in 2007, and doing this lab is only possible through this partnership. This long-term partnership has allowed us to develop a data set that allows us to look at how the fish community changes over time. For example, this year I am having the students compare the 2019 fish data set, a relatively wet year, with the 2013 fish data set, a drought year.”