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This is a repost from earlier in the year (thank you Rich!). We are still in need of citizen scientists for September 2014 through March 2015. Please e-mail [email protected] if you are interested and have an upcoming trip. We had a great response from this original post, thank you boaters of mountainbuzz!

PS. check out our new video here:

Please read below for more information on this exciting citizen science project


Wanted: The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center seeks private boaters to collect samples of flying insects throughout Grand Canyon using light traps. We are especially interested in trips that will be on the river in September through March, because this is a critical time period that commercial boatmen have been unable to cover for us.

Background: Native and non-native fish in the Colorado River rely heavily on aquatic invertebrates as food. Blackflies and midges are particularly important food items for fish, including the endangered humpback chub. Black flies and midges are insects that spend part of their lifecycle in the Colorado River (egg and larval stages) and part of their lifecycle in the terrestrial environment (winged adults). Emergent insects like midges and blackflies are also key prey items for terrestrial consumers such as birds, bats, and lizards.

Purpose: The purpose of this citizen science initiative is to track the abundance of adult midges and blackflies throughout the entire Grand Canyon to better understand the role that dam operations, tributary floods and other factors play in the life cycle of these key aquatic insects.

How much work is it? The light traps are small (blacklight placed on the edge of a Tupperware) and very simple to deploy. Each evening near your camp, you would place the trap near the water’s edge, just above the day’s high water line. The light trap needs to be deployed within an hour after sunset and needs to stay out for 1 hour. We estimate deploying the trap will take about 5 minutes and picking up traps, preserving the samples, and recording your notes will take around 10 minutes. For as little effort as 10 or 15 minutes each day, you can make an invaluable contribution to describing the ecology of the Colorado River.

What we will provide: We will provide you with a 20 mil ammo can that contains a sampling kit—light traps, timer/alarm, sample bottles, a small notebook, a Peterson Field Guide for Insects and a Larry Stevens river guide and map so you can note the exact river mile where samples were collected. Feel free to keep the river guide at the end of your trip as a small thank you for your participation.

If you are interested in participating or would like more information send an e-mail to [email protected] with the headline “GCPBA Citizen Scientist.” We will meet with you and your group prior to your trip launch to deliver your kit and answer any questions you may have. For additional information about the project please visit our website You can learn more about the citizen science insect monitoring project there by checking out our video, pictures, and links to related articles and news stories.
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