Research & Education Laboratories
Our primary study stream, White Clay Creek, is included in the scientific and educational activities of the Stroud Water Research Center. Two laboratory streams are continuously fed water from White Clay Creek, making flora and fauna of these streams characteristic of this aquatic ecosystem.
Microbial life in streams such as bacteria fungi, protozoa, and algae are integral to a naturally functioning stream ecosystem. This laboratory is focused on determining the composition, rates of function, and food web interactions of the microbial community.
By monitoring the movement of isotopes, biologists can better understand important food web interactions such as feeding preference and rates of nutrient uptake in a microbial community. These interactions play an important role in the overall functioning of aquatic ecosystems.
These patented plug-flow bioreactors were designed by Dr. Louis Kaplan to help water utility companies monitor the amounts of biodegradable dissolved organic matter in their water supplies. This knowledge can help utilities prepare and distribute a higher quality drinking water to their customers. The bioreactors also constitute an important research tool for Stroud Water Research Center scientists in their studies of stream ecosystems.
Experimental Stream Facility
This facility enables the Center’s staff to bring natural populations of aquatic macroinvertebrates (insects, crayfish, snails, etc.) into the laboratory for research purposes. The various “rearing containers” can be supplied continuously with fresh White Clay Creek water. Food, temperature, and light can be manipulated for experiments. The facility has been used to rear both temperate and tropical species throughout their entire life cycle.
Healthy streams often support 200-300+ species of aquatic insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates, forming a rich and complex biological community. A component of the entomology group, the microscopy room assists in the studies of factors that affect the distribution and abundance of aquatic invertebrates, the functional role of invertebrates in stream and river ecosystems, and how these invertebrate communities respond to human activities in temperate and tropical watersheds.
Education Teaching Laboratory
The Center’s education programs provide a direct mechanism for disseminating the findings from current and long-term research projects. Each year, thousands of visitors are given the opportunity to learn about the Center’s research by becoming actively involved in the process of science. Students, teachers and the general public are able to participate in workshops, field trips, and special programs that reflect the science of the Stroud Water Research Center.