PCC Biology Class Partners with KDWP for River Project

On Wednesday, April 20th, 2022, Mr. Chambers’ Biology II class, and two students from the WOO program collaborated with biologists from the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks (KDWP) on a project to assess the biological communities on a short stretch of the South Fork Ninnescah just north of Pratt County Lake.

Students had an opportunity to sample the macroinvertebrate community using dip nets and collected fish using an electroshocking technique.  

The project is part of an animal diversity unit in the Biology II curriculum. Support for the project is provided by biologist from the KDWP, including Ryan Waters, Jeff Seim, Brody Lathum, and Kali Boroughs, a former PCC graduate. KDWP has been instrumental in helping PCC students for nearly twenty years in association with this project.

The majority of the invertebrates collected were damselflies, which are moderately tolerant of pollution. The fish community continues to show an impact from invasive species, but there were several native sucker and minnow species collected. In total, students collected more than 20 different species of fish. 

The biological assessment of the river provides students with a chance to gain a better understanding of the overall health of the river. Recognizing how organisms interact with one another and their environment is a fundamental principle in ecology. Observing macroinvertebrate and fish communities in-situ gives students the opportunity to see how these organisms interact with one another and the environment in a natural setting. Thanks to KDWP for their continuing support of this project.     

*Photos and information courtesy of PCC Science instructor Dave “Kip” Chambers