Rippin’ it in the River

img_3121It has been a couple of weeks since my partner and I last collected T. tubifex samples from the Davidson River. After a “fishy” attempt to collect these oligochaetes from various sections of the Davidson River via the “Coon Tree Picnic Area”, we found that we just weren’t having any luck. So, after we decided that we couldn’t feel our legs from the cold water anymore, we drove down to the local Pisgah Fish Hatchery — in the hopes that someone would be able to give us an idea of where we might find a good sampling site to collect some T. tubifex. Luckily for us, we managed to find an employee, who very kindly described which access points the hatchery typically finds T. tubifex worms on a daily basis. So my partner and I went down through a small patch of woods, and found one of the drainage pipes that connects from the racing wells (where the hatchery fish are kept), to the Davidson River. As expected, we found numerous tubifex worms! Unfortunately, we must not have planned on any success, seeing as though we did not have a tool that could be used to efficiently collect the worms to take back to the lab. Luckily for John and I, we absolutely love digging through fish waste (who doesn’t?), so we just dove right mattin…using sticks that we broke off of trees to pick up some clusters of the worms. They were everywhere! Thousands — likely millions of worms were all gathered in one small area of the Davidson. By 5:45, my partner and I decided it was time to go home, but we did not leave unsuccessful. John took the worms back to his place to sort through them, and the next day I worked on some DNA extraction.