Streamflow sampling with ACRC
My name is Naomi Boyles-Muehleck, and I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. This summer, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. Throughout the summer I participated in a project sampling drift from three streams along the Juneau road system. These three streams, Cowee Creek, Herbert River, and Peterson Creek, represent a gradient of glacial influence. The goal of the project was to gain insight into carbon fluxes and nutrient transport in temperate rainforest and glacially fed stream systems.
Using two nets with differing mesh sizes placed in the streamflow to capture a broader range of particulate sizes, we collected samples of organic matter, sediment, and invertebrates in the water column. These samples were placed in high-temperature ovens to turn the organic component into ash (feel free to explain this better, but I think it's good to provide a plain language description), and the ash-free dry mass was calculated for each sample. We also collected water samples for alkalinity, total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in conjunction with drift.
The field season has flown by, with lots of time spent in the field collecting data and processing samples in the lab. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with ACRC this summer. The ability to apply past experience and academic knowledge to this project under the mentorship of Eran Hood, Jason Fellman, and Emily Whitney was extremely valuable for me. My experience in this position will help motivate me through my senior year at UAS and has provided further fuel to my sense of curiosity and love for the unique ecosystem of Southeast Alaska.