an aquatic bug viewed under a dissecting microscope.

Soil and Water Summer Experience – Katharine Frey

The Soil and Water Sciences Department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experience. The students enrolled in one of three courses over the summer, for which they received credit: SWS 4905-Individual Work, SWS 4911-Supervised Research in Soil and Water Science, and SWS 4941
Practical Work Experience. This is Katharine Frey’s summer experience:

College student sitting at lab bench with microscope.

Katharine Frey takes a break from identifying aquatic insects under the microscope. (photo provided)

My name is Katharine Frey and I am beginning my junior year at UF. I am majoring in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources. During the summer, I spent three months at the Stroud Water Research Center as an entomology intern.

Aquatic Ecosystems

My focus was helping to analyze local stream samples and correlate stream health with the insect diversity found in the respective sites. Every day, I would spend hours sorting through trays of a stream sample and identifying the insects down to order level. Located in southeastern Pennsylvania, Stroud collects water samples from all over the Delaware River water basin, stretching across Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

From this experience, I learned how to identify an array of different families of aquatic insects. I used this information to understand the overall quality of a freshwater source. My coursework at the University of Florida certainly prepared me for this experience, specifically World of Water (SWS2007) and Introduction to Integrated Pest Management (IPM3022). Both provided me a basic background in both water analysis and insect identification. This was very useful in determining stream health.

While sorting samples could be quite tedious at times, I learned a plethora of information from nationally recognized and published scientists. These include Dr. John Jackson (entomology), Dr. Mark Epipoch (ecosystems), and Dr. Raven Bier (microbiology). Overall, I had an awesome experience at the Stroud Water Research Center. I look forward to continuing my education in the environmental field.