Our goal has been to visit every bridge and lake outlet we can get to, assess the use of the bridge embankments by Turtles as nesting habitat, find which species of Crayfish, Unionids, and Salamanders are present, note the occurrence or absence of Zebra Mussels and other invasive species, and make collections that document the morphology and genetics of the populations. This note describes the procedures we’ve developed for these visits, hoping to inspire others to “do” bridges, offering them a simple protocol (Table 1), and presenting a few tips for safety and comfort.
The latter day explorer must position himself on the globe and in time (Chapman & Wieczorek 2006), and be prepared to routinely measure temperature and magnitude. The basic equipment for this spatio-temporal referencing is a GPS unit or topo map, a digital watch or time read from a GPS unit, an accurate thermometer, and tape measure, metre stick, ruler, or calipers as needed. Equipment for streams includes strong plastic bags, effective wading shoes, a dipnet or rock rake with a sturdy staff-like handle, glass-bottomed viewing boxes, and permits or fishing licence appropriate for specimens you’re going to retain. (footnote 3)
You must, of course bring the “breathless interest in natural phenomena” which alone qualifies you to record anything beyond a fixed data protocol. In streams this fascination should extend to the Hirudinea — vulgarly “those damned blood suckers” — or at least, if Leeches aren’t a focus of study, an indifference born of the conviction that they’re harmless to an investigator properly clad in tightly woven pants tucked into tightly knitted socks.
It would be indelicate to suggest that our product theNatureJournal(.ca), is also essential, but you’ve got to have a method of recording your observations while you’re at the site, whether pen-and-ink or electronic, that’s tied into some prospect of long-term archiving of your findings. In any event, the herpetological origin of the datasheet from theNatureJournal predisposes it to bridges, since herpetologists rarely stray far from roads or from water, an