Earth Day – 4/27/2019

Danelle was scheduled to work a booth at St. Louis Earth Day in Forest Park. I decided to go with her to hang out and help out. I wasn’t much of a help, but it was fun to be with her.

One of the random bugs in the tray to show people.

Crayfish.

That is Mike Clark’s crew moving Junebug into her place. Nothing like a trip with Big Muddy Adventures!

I’m always happy to look at the electric cars.

Hogan Haake

Ph.D Sampling – 11/21/2018

Re-posted from Danelle’s Science Blog. I’ve added some extra photos at the bottom.

Since my research is on winter use of road salt, much of my field work has been completed in the winter.  I’ve spent days climbing down storm drains to learn about municipal salt use.  This year, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I spent the day in the field with Cathleen Yung (an undergraduate student who has been helping me in the lab) and my helpful husband Hogan.  We visited Sugar Creek in order to hunt for a large number of a single species of flathead mayfly for a toxicity study that I would be conducting over the following two weeks.

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Cathleen transfers mayflies into a clean container while I look for more mayflies under the rocks. Photo by Hogan Haake.

Normally, I wouldn’t consider field work before Thanksgiving to be winter field work, but when we arrived at the site, the water temperature was only 3 degrees C and there were small patches of ice along some of the stream banks.  We proceeded to spend about 7 hours in the chill water (with waders on), picking up many small rocks (and several not-so-small rocks) with our bare hands in order to look for our mayfly friends.  While slow and tedious, this hand collecting method is the most effective for gathering wild specimens without causing injuries to the delicate critters – as long as you can still feel your fingers.

By the end of the day, we had collected over 450 mayflies.  As someone who is working to preserve aquatic life, there is a part of me that regrets taking so many animals from the stream.  Fortunately, I know that this stream is supporting a very large and healthy population of this species.  Within the 120-meter segment of stream where we sampled, we left large patches of habitat undisturbed and did not take the smaller individuals.  In addition, there were many other patches of prime habitat both upstream and downstream of the area where we collected.  I share these bits of information because I want to make it clear that, as a responsible scientist, I consider the environmental costs and potential long-term effects of any collection efforts that I undertake.

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Flat head mayflies are abundant in this stretch of stream.
Before I close out this post, I need to express my gratitude to my two amazing helpers.  Hogan and Cathleen not only helped get the job done, they were cheerful and enthusiastic about it!  I could not have asked for better help in less-than-comfortable conditions!
Danelle Haake

River Des Peres Trash Bash – 10/20/2018

I was a site leader for the RdP Trash Bash again this year. This year, it was a little closer to home. Our site was Deer Creek in Webster groves where it goes under Brentwood Blvd. Sonora and I got there early to wait for Panera to deliver breakfast.

I’m not sure what Sonora was doing here, but I know that we were laughing and having a good time.

Preparing in the new shelter where we’ll set up base camp.

Webster Groves parks and rec department was sponsoring this specific cleanup location. There were several Webster Groves employees there to help. This also meant that they brought out the big toys to help. We had all sorts of tools and even had occasion to use the backhoe!

Most interesting of all of all for this cleanup is the man cave that we removed from under the bridge. Somebody had spent a lot of time. I was torn about cleaning it up. It looked cool and they didn’t seem to be bothering anybody, but all of that stuff would eventually go down the river as trash in the next flood.

And if you didn’t catch it in the last image, that is a current publication of Cowboys & Indians magazine. Strange!

Hogan Haake

Ecological Society of America 2018

The Ecological Society of America held their annual conference on August 5-10, 2018, in New Orleans.  This was my first time attending and I have to say that I was overwhelmed!  There were over a thousand scientists in attendance and the wonderful individuals I met were as diverse as the ecological subject areas that were being studied.

I went to the meeting with Megan, a fellow grad student working in Jason Knouft’s lab.  I was pleased to be able to present a poster of my recent work and had some great feedback from one of the editors of one of the British ecology journals.  I was also glad to see Kara, a former member of the lab.  We enjoyed an evening on Bourbon Street, a must for any trip to New Orleans.

While I heard a lot about some very interesting science programs and areas of study, one of the sessions that I found most inspiring was one on the importance of communicating our science.  Based on my insights from that session, I am re-kindling my blog and I have every intention of posting regularly so that my massive throngs of readers (Hi, Mom!) can hopefully glean something from my own thoughts on science…

​Thanks for reading!


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Megan and Kara joined me on an evening visit to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Danelle Haake

Bike With Your Boots On – 6/23/2018

Bike With Your Boots On is a a citizen science initiative with the Missouri Stream Team to get people out exercising and testing local creeks. For this outing, we met at Fults Field near River Des Peres and split into groups to cover the most ground. At each site we tested for things like conductivity (how much salt in in the water) and the PH of the water. Other science thing were measured that I can’t remember. These values are sent to Jefferson City where they will be added to a database keeping track of the health of local creeks.  Here are some of the photos of our event.

Hogan Haake