The team from UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences came by to take their weekly field samples, and we were able to get a few photos and ask Eric Holmes a couple of questions about that little pink bag.
RGF: There’s a lot floating in this sample! With the naked eye, does it look like the plankton levels are good?
Eric Holmes: The levels of zooplankton in that field have been very high, although the straw does make it hard to see. That sample came from field 122 which has been flooded long enough to have a robust population of large bodied zooplankton species, including daphnia pulex and daphnia magna, which are prime food sources for juvenile salmon on the floodplain.
RGF: What exactly is the pink solution?
EH: The pink solution is 95% ethanol to preserve the bugs, dyed with rose bengal which turns the bugs a bright pink and makes counting and identification in the lab easier.