Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wetsuits or Wet Suits?

This week, your favorite freshwater native mussel researchers were at it again in the Chippewa River near Benson, MN. Since we finished the Chippewa aggregations last time, we instead focused on doing timed searches and gathering sediment samples.

Maya, Clara, and Mark counting mussels

Brooke, Kelly, and Molly (that's me!) measuring water velocity

The water was often high with a strong current, but the team made do, starting at the most upstream site (which theoretically has the smallest amount of water running through it) and working our way downstream. Some sites reminded us of the good ol' days in the Snake River, when our bags were filled to the brim with mussels....

Mussel data collection at the Chippewa River

And others? Nada, zip, the big zero. These sites were a lot of shifting sand, and the mussels had shifted right on out of there, leaving us with mussel graveyards and hungry leeches....

Mussel data collection at the Chippewa River

Maya and Clara warm up on the roadside
 The weirdest thing about this week's trip was the donning of the short wetsuits! We wore legless wetsuits for part of the week, and even shed them completely in favor of our sediment-y swim suits. Which was amazing. We felt so gloriously free in our own skins! The one downside? You get cold. Oh well!

After 3 days of hard work, we succeeded in completing 9 different sites, so we headed home back to the Twin Cities. In the words of Prof. Kelly, "Yay team!"

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