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Wild Hometown Science
The U.S. Geological Survey Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory (NARL) has been in Tioga County for many years. For a long time it was known as a fish hatchery. However, not many people know what the purpose of the laboratory is today.
The research team at NARL provides scientific expertise related to the assessment of ecological health and the critical services that ecosystems provide under a changing environment. Much of this work focuses on freshwater streams and rivers with emphasis on the quality and quantity of water resources, and the balance between ecological and human needs. The facility has unique capabilities to simulate aquatic ecosystems and a variety of environmental conditions and evaluate ecological responses at multiple scales.
The NARL houses a world class wet-lab facility equipped with: 32 outdoor stream raceways; multi-sized, highly controlled mesocosm systems; and a computerized contaminant delivery system for stressor simulation in aquatic environments. The NARL also boasts dry lab facilities with high-end analytical chemistry equipment; respirometers for quantifying fish stress; microscopes with video capability; and other unique instrumentation that makes this station uniquely suited to experimentally address a variety of ecological questions.
The researchers at the Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory love sharing their knowledge and tours of the facility. Visitors are always welcome! For additional information, contact Heather Galbraith, USGS Research Fish Biologist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (570) 724-3322.
Here’s a peek at some of the things you can learn at the Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory:
– There are over 300 species native to North America, which has the highest freshwater mussel diversity in the world
– Freshwater mussels are rapidly declining because of a variety of disturbances to streams and rivers
– Baby mussels (as small as a tiny grain of sand) have to attach to a fish for a portion of their lives before they fall off and live in the sediment and grow into adult mussels
– American eels used to be abundant in streams and rivers along the Atlantic Coast, including Pine Creek and its tributaries