The Allure of Astacology -- Catchin' Crayfish
Students visit one of three sites in Cortland County in order to observe crayfish in their natural environment and collect them for future studies.  Sites are:
 
1.  West Branch of the Tioughnioga River at Durkee Park, Homer, NY
2.  Factory Brook (a tributary of the Tioughnioga) off Route 281, Homer, NY
3.  Pond site on the campus of Cortland Senior High School, Cortland, NY
 
 
Objectives
  1. Students will make observations of the area immediately surrounding their study site and record (using a SABN survey form):
    • A description of the location
    • Riparian and aquatic plants
    • Bivalves found
    • Other species found
  2. Using techniques presented by the instructor, students will carefully and safely retrieve crayfish from the stream or pond sites.
Materials
  1. Waders, hip boots, and/or water shoes
  2. D-nets and small hand nets
  3. Small basins, pans, collecting jars (plastic, not glass)
  4. Hand-held GPS unit
  5. Field guides (trees and shrubs, wildflowers, aquatic plants, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians)
Procedure
  1. Teams of students (2-3) will be delegated tasks:
    • Record data from survey site
    • Identification of riparian and aquatic plants
    • Near-shore collection of crayfish
    • Mid-stream collection of crayfish
    • Near-shore observation of other species
    • Mid-stream observation of other species
References
 
NewYork State Living Environment Standard 4
 
Key Idea 1:  Living things are both similar to and different from each other and from nonliving things.

1.1a Populations can be categorized by the function they serve. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers carrying out either autotropic or heterotropic nutrition.

Key Idea 6:  Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.
 
6.1e In any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms depend on the physical conditions including light intensity, temperature range, mineral availability, soil/rock type, and relative acidity (pH).
 
6.1g Relationships between organisms may be negative, neutral, or positive. Some organisms may interact with one another in several ways. They may be in a producer/consumer, predator/prey, or parasite/host relationship; or one organism may cause disease in, scavenge, or decompose another.
 
6.2a As a result of evolutionary processes, there is a diversity of organisms and roles in ecosystems. This diversity of species increases the chance that at least some will survive in the face of large environmental changes. Biodiversity increases the stability of the ecosystem.

6.3a The interrelationships and interdependencies of organisms affect the development of stable ecosystems.

 
State Standards
Lesson Resources