Field Notes

September 25, 2018

Into the Deep

Research and education are at the heart of what the Lilly Center does. This editorial piece, featured in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on Sunday, Sept. 23, highlights both aspects of our work from the perspective of Dr. Bosch’s lake lab. Read the full article here

On a recent Friday afternoon, three pontoon boats converged near the middle of Winona Lake, at a spot where the water is deepest. Some of the passengers, all college students or younger siblings who had come along for the afternoon, clasped hands to hold the boats steady as others roped the vessels together.

At the front of the middle boat, oblivious to a light but steady rain, Nathan Bosch addressed his class. As students pulled up hoods and fastened jackets, Bosch described what they would be doing in the next hour and a half and offered a quick refresher on things they had discussed in his class at Grace College.

Bosch held up a series of gauges and buckets the students would use to probe Winona’s waters and record and analyze the results.

He reminded the students they would likely find the bottom layer of Winona, called the hypolymnion, would be cold water, with much warmer water in the top layer, known as the epilymnion.

“Are those two separate, or are they mixing together?” he asked the class. “Our hypothesis is that they’re separate – that right now Winona Lake is stratified into an upper layer and a bottom layer. So when we take measurements of both layers, we would expect those measurements to be different from each other, right?

“So we’re going to measure the two. We’re going to measure the biology. We’re going to look at if there’s any bloodworms” – midge fly larvae – “down at the bottom of the lake. The class yesterday found no bloodworms …

“We’re also going to look at it chemically. We’re going to look at some different chemistry tests for the bottom vs. the top. And we’re going to look at it physically. We’re going to look at things like the pH (the measure of acidity or basicity of a solution). We’re going to look at things like temperature and oxygen levels as well.”

Bosch, who has been teaching this class for 10 years, is director of Grace’s Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams, a research and education center aimed at bringing an evidence-based focus to the care of northeast Indiana waters.

Finish reading here. Images courtesy of The Journal Gazette.