Blog Entry Written by Team: Finless Porpoise
Team Members: Yanling Wang (Queen’s), Shidan Wen (BNU), Renata Sampaio (Laurier)
Weather: Cloudy, Temp 33ºC
Wow what a day! Today was our first day learning about wetland assessments at Gonghu Bay. We arrived at Gonghu Bay where we met Mrs. Hua Cheng who is an employee of an eco-engineering company, Jiangda, which has taken up the post-project management and maintenance of the bay. As we shuffled onto a boat we observed some of the different species inhabiting the wetland such as the black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) soaring through the sky or little grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis) swimming and diving in the wetland.
Mrs. Cheng explained how Jiangda has been maintaining the restoration of the Gonghu Bay and that they were on Phase IV of the total project. She further explained how the bay undertook four main steps into the reconstruction of the wetland. Phase I consisted of dredging, or the removal of contaminated aquaculture sediment, from the bottom of the bay to produce new environments which aided in increasing the diversity of species found in the wetland. Phase II focused on the improvement of habitat in which sloped, vertical and rocky banks were engineered for the natural aesthetics, the separation of Gonghu Bay from Tai Lake and the prevention of erosion, respectively. Next, Phase III centered on the introduction of functional plants and benthic invertebrates, such as snail and mussels, as well as fish species back into the bay. She continued to report that the health of the wetland ecosystem had increased and that the bay now included 70 plant species combined with 20 fish species. Finally, Phase IV was the maintenance and management of the post-project to assure that the wetland’s ecosystem is progressing and so that they may start to improve Tai Lake in a similar fashion.
We headed back to the base where Dr. Lougheed gave a lecture of bird identification and characteristics used to identify different species of birds such as size, color, beak, wing shape and most importantly range. After a quick rest we went back into the field to undertake the task of identify the diversity of birds in the wetland. We saw and identified several different species which included but were not limited to the black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis), intermediate egrets (Mesophoyx intermedia), Chinese grey shrikes (Lanius sphenocercus), mynah (Acridotheres tristis) and light-vented bulbuls (Picnonotus sinensis). We regrouped at a local coffee shop while enjoying ice cold cappuccinos and coca-colas before making our way back for to base.
Once back on the base Dr. Wang explained some of the different methods we would be using out on the field the following days to evaluate the water quality of the wetland. He demonstrated how to use several instruments which would measure the salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, conductivity and pH of the water and how these measurements are vital in defining the overall status of health of the aquatic ecosystem. We concluded the day at Gonghu Bay with Dr. Lougheed enlightening the group with specie concepts which partake in biomonitoring which included; indicator species, keystone species, flagship species and umbrella species and outlined the importance of such species in supervising ecosystems. It was truly a wonderfully jam-packed day full of exploration and discovery in uncovering what it takes to nurture a reconstructed aquatic ecosystem, such as the Gonghu Bay wetland, plus the effort it takes to maintain such a project for the long term.
接下来，Dr. Lougheed教授为我们介绍了鸟类物种识别的基本方法。黎明（或黄昏）时是观察鸟类的最好时间。鸟类物种识别主要依赖以下特征：体型、颜色及纹理特征、喙及翅膀的形状、鸣声、冠羽、行为、栖息地和分布范围。根据这些要领，我们在野外进行了实践。沿着湖岸，我们观察到了许多种不同的鸟类，例如黑冠夜鹭（Nycticorax nycticorax），小鷿鷈（Tachybaptus ruficollis），中白鹭（Mesophoyx intermedia），楔尾伯劳（Lanius sphenocercus），白头鹎（Picnonotus sinensis）。