Wooster fieldwork resumes at Brown’s Lake Bog on a gorgeous day

Wayne County, Ohio — It was a perfect day for Wooster Geologists to do some aquatic fieldwork. It was my first day of fieldwork since March 2020 in Utah. This time I wasn’t doing much actual work, though — I watched our geological technician Nick Wiesenberg and Professor Greg Wiles apply their considerable field skills and took these photographs.

We drove to Brown’s Lake Bog in southern Wayne County to collect sediment and plankton samples for Justine Paul Berina’s Senior Independent Study project on diatoms as well as for other grant-supported studies. Nick is shown in the top photo heroically casting a plankton net into the bog to sample microscopic organisms in the top of the water column. We hope we find lots of living diatoms. We know there will be lots of floating algae!

Brown’s Lake Bog is state property operated as a nature preserve by The Nature Conservancy. Wooster has long-standing permission to do scientific work there. It is a fantastic natural laboratory.

Nick is preparing the plankton net for casting. Greg is holding a clear plastic tube we will use to collect a sediment core.

The net is now tied to the platform after use so most of the water can drain through. It took awhile because there was so much suspended algae.

Now Nick and Greg are preparing the core sampling device. The white part above the clear tube has a valve that allows water to pass through when the tube is thrust into the sediment. It closes when the tube is removed, essentially sucking up the enclosed sediment.

Off Nick and Greg go across the floating sphagnum mat to the water’s edge.

Nick is now plunging the sediment collector into the muck.

I’d like to call this the Reverse Iwo Jima maneuver as Greg and Nick remove the sediment-filled core.

The tube is now filled with sediment and water. Success!

Our aquatic scientists are now carrying the precious samples and equipment back to our vehicles. Well done.

Watch this blog for our data and observations from this work in a few months!

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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2 Responses to Wooster fieldwork resumes at Brown’s Lake Bog on a gorgeous day

  1. Bill Reinthal says:

    Looks like fun! You talked, in an earlier post, about the fragility of the diatoms, with respect to water chemistry, but bogs are really unique. I assume bog pH is quite low (compared to most natural freshwater ponds), so does this affect the bioavailability of silica for these phytoplankters to survive? Do bogs’ pH values decrease as they age, and does this show up in the biota and sediment you find in these cores, or is there even any sort of stratigraphy you can find in them, since they evolve so quickly (and both laterally and vertically), in a geological sense?

    I hadn’t even realized that there were freshwater diatoms, before these posts, so thank you!

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    All excellent questions, Bill. I’m just at the base of the steep Diatom Learning Curve, so we may have answers later.

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