Now that the cold weather is setting in, we decided to take a moment to reflect on our successful summer monitoring field season. Each year, we assess and monitor the health of forests, wetland and streamside ecosystems in the Credit River Watershed. We’re back in the office, analyzing the wealth of data from the field. Here are our top five cool finds of the summer:
1. Mini moon or giant puffball?
Zach, one of our Watershed Monitoring technicians, discovered this Calvatia gigantea, commonly known as the Giant puffball mushroom in the upper watershed. Lifting the puffball does not harm the organism, as the main body of the fungus grows underground. The puffball is the fruiting structure of the fungi. Many animals find giant puffballs to be delicious and nutricious.
2. Discovering new species
There are about 10 species of crayfish found in Ontario. However, discovering this Calico crayfish was a huge find for CVC because it has never been recorded in the Credit River Watershed … until now! It is native to North America and can grow to about eight centimetres.
3. Lunchtime in nature
Nature is beautiful but there are also some tough realities that come with it. Take this snake and toad for instance. Looks like someone’s eyes were bigger than their stomach…
4. Equipment for dinner
Part of our field monitoring work is listening to and recording frog calls throughout the Credit River Watershed. Acoustic recording units are an easy and inexpensive way to retrieve data during off-work hours. The units allow staff to take the recordings back to the office and analyze which species are breeding and when.
The recording unit microphone on the left is fully intact and the unit on the right has been chewed by a hungry or curious animal. This is par for the course when working in nature!
5. Fun fungi
Fungi are an important part of a healthy environment because they are indicators of a diverse ecosystem. It’s great to find cool fungi species like the ones pictured above. The first photo is a species of Laetiporus, a mushroom commonly known as chicken of the woods.
The second photo is Coprinellus disseminatus, commonly known as fairy ink caps. The species was given its name in 1938 by Jakob Emanuel Lang.
The third photo is Omphalotus olearius, commonly known as jack-o’-lantern mushrooms. While its bright colouring is beautiful to look at, it is poisonous and should not be consumed.
Interested in learning more about the work from our monitoring staff? Check out our Watershed Monitoring page for more information.