Program of winter hydrobiology course (IWES)

This course description relates to International Winter Ecology School

Introductory lecture: Hydrobiology of freshwater reservoirs in a seasonal climate.

Topic 1. Acquaintance with a diversity of freshwater invertebrates.

Lecture: The main groups of freshwater invertebrates: benthos, plankton, nekton, pleuston. Differences between Palearctic and Nearctic fauna on the family level.

Excursion: Sterliajiy creek (ZBS) and springs near the village Tuchkovo.

Lab: Identification of freshwater invertebrates to the family level.

Topic 2. Acquaintance with the sample collection methods.

Lecture: Differences in the quantitative and qualitative sample collection methods. The concepts of the density, production and biomass.

Excursion: Collection of samples from the Moscow River by dredging.

Lab: Analysis of the samples collected

Topic 3. Evolution of the major groups of freshwater invertebrates.

Lecture: Evolution of freshwater invertebrate fauna: protoaquatic organisms and the descendants of terrestrial animals; different types of breathing and life cycles.

Lab: Analysis of the samples collected, acquaintance with the typical anatomical structures of freshwater invertebrates and observation of living organisms.

Topic 4. Freshwater invertebrates communities.

Lecture: Different approaches to determination of the spatial boundaries between freshwater benthic communities

Excursion: Springs near the village Tuchkovo. Students will be split into the several groups for collecting the qualitative and quantitative samples along the sampling transects running from the source to the mouth of each creeks.

Lab: Analysis of the samples collected and discussing the characteristic features of communities found in the creeks.

Topic 5. The methods and approaches of bioindication based on the diversity of freshwater invertebrates.

Lecture: The history of bioindication. The bioindicative systems using in hydrobiology. The concepts of the saprobity system, of the trophic state index and of the pollution. Anthropogenic pressure influencing fresh-water ecosystems, the potencies of ecosystems to self-restoration.

Excursion: Collection of samples from the Moscow River by dredging.

Lab: Analysis of the samples collected, application of the main bioindicative indexes.

Individual student projects:

  1. The study of spatial variability of freshwater invertebrate communities inhabiting the non-freezing springs.
  2. Even in the middle of winter large springs do not freeze. All year round, water pours from beneath the earth with the temperature around +4C. The inhabitants of these springs never experience the summer heat and winter cold and form communities unlike any other.
  3. The project involves the collection of qualitative and quantitative samples from the springs of Tuchkovo area, identification of the species collected and description of the spring invertebrate communities.
  4. Characterization of the faunal composition of the communities in the soft soils of the Moscow River covered with ice.
  5. In summer, the river bed is covered with thickets of aquatic plants. In autumn, when ice covers the surface and the river bed is plunged into darkness, aquatic plants die transforming the river bed into a desert. However, life doesn’t stop there.
  6. The project involves the collection of quantitative samples from below the river ice by dredging, analysis of these samples, identification of invertebrate species and characterization of the spatial structure of invertebrate communities.