This weekend, I did some research on the topic of bioindicators/macroinvertebrates. While I'm going to be nowhere as far along as the other three, I have a general idea about what I would like to study.
This article is my main source at this point.
One of the strengths of using macroinvertebrates to asess the quality and health of a watershed is that they have long lifespans, and integrate multiple variables over a long period of time.
My next step: Since I tend to do better with face-to-face interaction than emails, I'm going to head over to Erick Shawn's office sometime in the next few days and ask a few questions about the stream down in the corner of campus.
We ran through there last week during practice, and the ditch that is normall the stream was dry. If it turns out the water has somehow been diverted or it doesn't prove to be a suitable habitat, there is another stream about a 10 minute walk from Catlin (off of Washington St, near where the Hursts live) and one that runs through a park a short walk from my house.
I plan to find out more about what kind of stream I should be looking for, and to decide whether I want to focus all my attention on one riparian area or compare the health of several.