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Aquatic Sample Processing

 

SOE PROCESSING FOR REGIONAL COUNCILS
Service Areas: State of the Environment Monitoring, Aquatic Sample Processing

As part of their responsibilities under the Resource Management Act, regional councils monitor the state of their region’s waterways on a yearly basis. 

In a great example of councils working together to procure services, EOS Ecology provides State of the Environment monitoring for six of the North Island’s nine regional councils. These include Auckland Council, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, and Greater Wellington.

As sole service provider we offer a uniform, high quality sample processing methodology and reporting framework. This makes it easier for councils and others to compare and monitor datasets, which is particularly important for national SOE reporting.

To be able to provide this service to over a third of the country’s regional councils is testament to our continued focus on quality and ongoing investment in our lab.

 

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Our high-spec lab and technical expertise ensure a high calibre service when processing regional council’s SOE samples. grey-BR
 
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CANTERBURY SOE PROCESSING – QUALITY CONTROL
Service Areas: State of the Environment Monitoring, Aquatic Sample Processing

EOS Ecology is helping to ensure reliability of invertebrate processing methodology for Environment Canterbury’s busy laboratory by providing Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) for some of their processed samples. Staff at EOS ensure high quality QA/QC results thanks to their excellent invertebrate identification skills and attention to detail.

As well as carrying out custom QA/QC methodologies, EOS has plenty of experience with the standard QC protocols of Stark et al (2001), which are commonly used for SOE programmes of many other regional councils. In addition, EOS staff regularly carry out internal QC of each other’s work, so we can ensure our sample processing and invertebrate IDs are of the highest quality.

 

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Amber conducting QA on ECan invertebrate samples. grey-BR
 
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KARORI ROTENONE PROGRAMME
Service Areas: Aquatic Sample Processing

As part of the Karori Sanctuary restoration project, non-native fish have been eradicated from the Karori Reservoir and tributary streams using rotenone. To monitor the impacts of the chemical on the aquatic invertebrate life, the Department of Conservation (DOC) collected samples from the reservoir and a number of small forested streams feeding into the lake. Because EOS staff have plenty of experience identifying taxa from forested streams in the Wellington region, we were an obvious choice for processing the samples. With over 100 different species of aquatic invertebrates found among all of the samples, this has certainly been one of the more interesting processing-only projects for lab staff.

 
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Some different types of chironomid midge larvae from Karori streams. grey-BR
 
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WELLINGTON INTERMITTENT STREAMS
Service Areas: Aquatic Sample Processing

Small, intermittent streams are a common yet rarely studied habitat in the Greater Wellington region. NIWA carried out a study of a number these streams for the Greater Wellington Regional Council and EOS was enlisted to process the samples.

As the project had a focus on biodiversity, identifying the aquatic invertebrates to a high level of taxonomic resolution was required. Insects such as stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies were identified to species level, and all other animals identified to the lowest possible level. Thanks to an excellent set of taxonomic resources (including an invertebrate reference collection), EOS staff had no trouble with this level of taxa identification. This project also resulted in a new distribution record for a rarely collected stonefly, Spaniocercoides watti, which was previously only known from Northland and Waikato.

 
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The EOS team identified the stonefly Spaniocercoides watti from these samples, which is a new record for the Wellington area. grey-BR
 
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AVON-HEATHCOTE ESTUARY/IHUTAI SAMPLE PROCESSING
Service Areas: Aquatic Sample Processing, Ecosystem Health Assessment, Urban Ecology

As part of a long-term programme set up by the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury (ECan), and the Ihutai Trust (AHEIT), EOS Ecology has been monitoring the health of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai since 2007.

Having developed an estuary sampling programme, the EOS team undertakes annual monitoring at six sites within the estuary and its rivermouths. This programme not only involves the collection of samples but also the processing and identification of all benthic invertebrate fauna, including polychaetes, to the lowest practicable level, and the provision of a reliable dataset to ECan.

 
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Washing estuary infauna samples is mucky work but improves processing efficiency and accuracy. grey-BR
 
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DIDYMO SAMPLE PROCESSING
Service Areas: Aquatic Sample Processing

Requiring a new approach to the processing of invertebrates from didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) infested samples, NIWA engaged EOS Ecology to develop a new, more effective processing methodology.

Due to the thick cotton wool-like structure of the didymo stalks, standard sample washing was not adequate. The team at EOS trialled a number of techniques in order to obtain the most efficient way of removing invertebrates from these stalks. Processing 78 samples over several years, the EOS team was able to successfully remove and identify all invertebrates to the lowest practicable taxonomic resolution.

 
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Identifying and counting invertebrates following an intensive washing programme that separated them from didymo stalks. grey-BR
 
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CANTERBURY’S BRAIDED RIVERS SAMPLE PROCESSING
Service Areas: Aquatic Sample Processing

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is currently assessing the impact of flow diversions on the ecology of large braided rivers in Canterbury. This large-scale study has an extensive invertebrate processing programme, and DOC came to EOS Ecology to help with this.

Processing over 300 invertebrate Surber samples, EOS is following their comprehensive in-house ‘full count’ method. In order to work out the productivity of these rivers, the team at EOS is also removing the invertebrates from each sample and weighing them using analytical balances following desiccation in a drying oven. This data will allow DOC to generate habitat suitability curves for the invertebrate communities of Canterbury’s braided rivers under normal and low flow conditions, and ultimately contribute to their effective management.

 
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Weighing the tiny dried invertebrates takes a steady hand and a set of analytical balances. grey-BR
 

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