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An Analysis of Crayfish Populations in the Rouge River Compared with Select Water Quality Parameters

Organization(s):Crestwood High School
Student(s):Samer Ayache, Mohammed Harp, Razan Shams
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Teacher:Diana Rae Johns
Contributors:Dr. Nathan Lucas, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Mr. David Bydlowski, AREN
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report
Protocols:Air Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Water Temperature, Water Transparency
Presentation Poster: View Document
Optional Badges:Be an Engineer, Make An Impact, Be a STEM Professional
Date Submitted:03/11/2022
Urbanization led to a significant number of fragmented ecosystems that has decreased species biodiversity in areas within the Rouge river of Southeastern Michigan. There must be research into the species that inhabit these smaller regions if we hope to preserve their ecosystem. The crayfish is one crustacean that inhabits the Rouge River. Crayfish are considered a keystone species in many ecosystems because they keep the local food chain stable. The crayfish’s prominent role explains why it is necessary to study these lobster-like creatures. This research was conducted over two months using traps that were designed, engineered, and deployed to monitor crayfish populations in two branches of the Rouge River - the Lower and Middle Branch in autumn of 2021. Data was also collected on air and water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity using Vernier LabQuest 2 sensors. Crayfish were trapped, measured, identified, and returned to the river. Only one crayfish species was trapped in both areas of the Rouge River during sampling - the Virile Crayfish (Orconectes virilis). For future research, we would like to expand our collecting period to include other seasons and to see what specific river environments and water quality parameters are most suited for crayfish reproduction and growth.