Creek Sampling Techniques

The easiest way to collect aquatic invertebrates is with the use of a kicknet.  Kicknets can be created by strapping a very fine meshed net between two poles.  The device is then held downstream while scientists wade upstream, moving rocks and disturbing the creek bottom in an attempt to dislodge invertebrates which will flow downstream into the net.

Sweep Net

Kicknet

Aquatic Invertebrate Species of Virginia

Invertebrates as Indicators of Water Quality

In the Spring of 2020, a student team from the The Virginia Tech Science Alliance examined invertebrates in ThunderCroft's Mill Creek as indicators of water quality.  The creek, which is part of the New River Valley Watershed, passes through ThunderCave on the property, feeding into Slusser's Cave and eventually draining into the New River in Southwestern Virginia.  As inverebrates have species specific sensitivities to environmental pollutants, examining their presence and health in Mill Creek has great promise as an indicator of the health of the stream as it flows through the watershed.