Aug. 13 – Last day of the field course

On the final day of course activities the group headed out for the East China Sea Fishery Institute. At the institute, we received two guest lectures. First, Yimin Zhou spoke about efforts to protect Yangtze River, especially from illegal fishing. Main efforts are going into careful planning, monitoring and legislature, as well as educating the public on sustainable practices. Next, we heard from Zhang Yimo from the World Wildlife Foundation. Her work focused on the Beibayao Conservation Centre, which has reconstructed a wetland with the goal of providing a good ecosystem for travelling birds. Both guest lecturers’ efforts in conservation were inspiring.

We finished off our trip at East China Sea Fishery Institute by taking a tour of the museum they have on site. There were impressive preserved aquatic specimens, as well as birds and other animals living near or within aquatic systems. The bird models attracted the interest of a few of the young ornithologists in our group. The museum also displayed many of the techniques used for fishing, which was a great way to visualize the ecological impacts of large-scale fishing. Some of the more complicated nets like the “Gorth” net looked as if they could round up many aquatic species and really decimate the shoreline area.

Our last true course activity was to go to the sprawling fish market in Shanghai. Our task was to identify as many species as we could in about an hour. The teams set off. Using a combination of help from gracious Chinese teammates and some awkward miming, all of the students were able to ask the local fish mongers what species they had in stock. We saw plenty of cuttlefish, jellyfish, and eels. The live eels in crates filled a few streets and it was fascinating to watch the process of transferring them and preparing them to bring into the shops. While this activity was illuminating, it was also very smelly, and we were glad to head back to the hotel.

That evening, we went into the heart of Shanghai to have a delicious hot pot dinner. We enjoyed creating our sauces and trying (some of us for the first time) items such as cow’s stomach, duck’s blood, lotus root and cuttlefish. Overall, it was a great experience and our tables were full of laughter, recounting of stories, and a mix of Chinese and English conversation. Over the last few weeks some of the Chinese students mentioned they felt much more comfortable with English. The Canadian students picked up a few key phrases in Chinese, too. Most importantly, we had all forged international friendships and gained knowledge about each other’s countries, traditions, ecological practices and our unique approaches to conservation. After many toasts, thanks, pictures and parting words it was time to part ways. We left each other not with a “goodbye”, but a “see you soon”.

干杯 (Gānbēi), Cheers在最后一天我们的队伍前往东海渔业。在这个机构,我们听到了两位牛人的讲座。首先,Yimin Zhou谈到了保护长江所做的努力,特别是非法捕鱼。主要的措施是要仔细规划,监测和规范立法,以及教育公众对可持续发展的认识。接下来,我们听到世界野生动物基金会的Zhang Yimo。她的工作主要集中在北八滧保护中心,为迁徙的鸟类提供一个良好的生态重建湿地。这两位讲师在保护方面所做的努力都是鼓舞人心的。我们参观了中国东海海洋渔业,并参观了他们的博物馆。令人印象深刻是许多保存完好的水生动物标本,以及鸟类和其他生活在附近或在水生系统的动物标本。鸟的模型吸引了一些我们小队年轻的“鸟类学家”的兴趣。该博物馆还展示了许多用于捕鱼的器具,这是一个很棒的方式用来可视化的大型捕鱼的生态影响。一些更复杂的网,如“落网”仿佛能围捕许多水生物种并真正摧毁海岸线地区。我们最后一个课程活动是去上海的海鲜市场。我们的任务是在一个小时之内确定尽可能多的物种。队伍出发了。结合亲切的中国队友的帮助和一些简单的模仿,大家都了解了当地鱼贩卖的什么种类。我们看到很多的墨鱼、海蜇,和鳝鱼。活鳝鱼箱满几条街,这是多么令人兴奋可以看到转移过程并准备转运到商店。虽然这个活动很有启发性,但它也的确很臭,所以回到酒店我们很高兴。那天晚上,我们走进上海的核心区去吃美味的火锅晚餐。我们喜欢配置自己的佐料并尝试(有些人首次)毛肚,鸭血、莲藕、墨鱼。总的来说,这是一段很精彩的体验,我们的桌子旁都充满欢笑,叙事和混合的中文和英语对话。在过去的几周里,一些中国学生提到他们对英语的感觉越来越好。加拿大的学生也在汉语中也学到了一些重要的短语。最重要的是,我们都建立了国际友谊,并获得了彼此的国家,传统,生态实践和我们独特的保护方法的知识。经过多次敬酒,感谢,拍照和离别的时候分手的话。我们分开时留给彼此的不是“拜拜”,而是“很快会再见”。干杯(Gānbēi),干杯!

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August 12 – Shanghai Natural History Museum

On our first full day in Shanghai, we left the hotel early in the morning, hopped on our bus, and headed to Shanghai’s Museum of Natural History where we were hosted by its main life science researchers. Upon our arrival we met with the researchers, and went to a conference room where professors Lougheed and Wang gave extremely interesting lectures on their past, present and future projects.

Professor Lougheed gave a presentation on the conservation challenges facing the arctic and his own research project that will start this coming fall. He opened with the world’s global temperature change predictions in the next 84 years, with data indicating it will raise anywhere from 1-4 degrees Celsius. These projections are ranged from an optimistic model of all emissions coming to a stop today, and a more realistic one if human industrialization continues at its current rate. Next, he spoke to the issue of the polar ice cap melting and the detrimental effects it would have on earth. As it acts as an air conditioner for the world and holds a large amount of fresh water, so its melting will severely raise sea levels. He then moved into the impact climate change will have on arctic biota, in relation to their changing physical environments, shift in predator-prey relationships, phonological mismatches and increased chances of zoological outbreaks, and possibly extinction. Finally, he talked about his own project that will he, along with the Canadian government and partnering universities in other countries will undertake in the fall that aims to come up with sustainable fishing practices for the arctic as the polar ice cap melts and tracking polar bears as bioindicators using genetics.

Professor Wang then gave his talk on his work with comparative and environmental physiology and his projects he’s conducted around the world. His time in the Amazon was spent comparing different fish species from the Rio Solimoes and Rio Negros, and specific adaptations certain species have when it comes to their differences in pH and water chemistry. For example, the “Oscar” fish can tolerate changes in oxygen and can survive in extremely hypoxic conditions, lasting over 4 hours without oxygen altogether. Next, he talked about his time in Lake Qinghai, Tibet. Here he studied the physiology of the naked carp, a predominant species who when exposed to hypoxic conditions during for 12 hours will change the morphological makeup of its gills to increase lamella to avoid apoptosis.

The remainder of the day was spent exploring the museum and its incredible exhibits with on our own. We were all shocked at the size and beauty of the museum, with a garden in the middle with a stone waterfall, trees and flowers. Starting on the first floor we learned about the survival skills of different organisms and what traits they have adapted to survive in their environments. Next we were taken through time with a history of human’s interaction with the earth, from farming to industrialization. Furthermore explored exhibits on earths treasures, featuring crystals and rocks from around the globe. Next we saw a collection of hundreds of animals and insects from around the world. Further venturing took us to exhibits on the evolution of man, which had various skulls from Homo sapiens and related species on display. Our time at the museum finished with a private 4D viewing of the history of the universe, from the big bang to a predicted end of the world.

The rest of the day we were all given free rein to grab dinner and travel around Shanghai to experience this city that many of us have never been to! Our Chinese classmates native to the region showed us around, leading the way for dinner and a trip to the Bund. Shanghai is such a massive and futuristic city, and although the course is sadly coming to an end soon, we’re excited to see what the next few days will bring!

今天我们来到上海自然博物馆。这个博物馆是两年前新修建的。上午9点,我们首先来到第三会议室聆听了Dr. Lougheed教授和王宇翔教授的讲座。Dr. Lougheed教授先给我们带来以《北极保护物种的挑战》为题的演讲。


而为了应对这些问题,或者说至少要对这些问题知己知彼,Dr. Lougheed教授罗列了两个他正在参与的两个项目来举例说明。






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August 11 – Evaluating the Environment of Gonghu Bay

Blog entry written by: Team Golden Rod – Nick Gutkin (Western), Weikang Liu (Fudan), Suwei Xu (Tongji)

Weather: Sunny with some cloud cover, humid, hot , 35-38°C

Today was our second day of data collecting and sampling at the JDECO reconstructed wetlands in Wuxi. The previous day, all groups had collected data from various sites inside the wetland, and today we were moving to sample locations along Lake Taihu. The reconstructed wetlands we were in were bordered by a long causeway, on the other side of which was the lake. Two groups (including ours) still had birdwatching data to collect from the previous day’s location, so we recruited Dr Lougheed and set off.

We took an electric boat this time out to the sampling location to decrease the disturbance to local birds. As we approached, we waited a few minutes before starting our point count to allow the birds to acclimate. This particular birdwatching trip ended up being quite successful! We saw thirteen different species of birds, with multiple individuals of each species. Notable sightings included common moorhens (Gallinula chloropus), black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), crested mynas (Acridotheres cristatellus), a yellow bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) and even a rarely seen lesser coucal (Centropus bengalensis). The birds were plentiful around the wetland and could be seen fishing and flying around catching insects above the thick vegetation.

Next, we made our way across the wetland to the causeway. After stopping at a delightful little coffeeshop for some drinks, we proceeded to head to the GPS coordinates assigned to our group along the causeway. As we approached our sampling location, we observed a lot of key differences between the wetland and Lake Taihu. The bank was a concrete wall sloping into the lake, which was a bright lime-green color due to the algae gathered on the surface. We also saw trash floating in the lake, from empty water bottles to plastic bags and all sorts of rubbish. We even saw a dead fish floating belly-up right at our location. We sat down to do some birdwatching, but only managed to see a little egret (Egretta garzetta) and a couple unidentified swallows in our whole 15 minute point count. After MacGyvering a water sampler out of a plastic bottle and some rocks, we were able to collect a green-tinted sample from the lake. The differences between the two water bodies were quite noticeable and worrying, considering the fact that the lake was only 30 meters or so across the causeway from the wetland. After collecting the water sample, the Professors came with various testing equipment and we were able to test our water on-site. Wenxi then showed us how to use an Ekman grab sampler to collect a sediment sample from the lake bottom. Unfortunately at our site, like many along the causeway, the bottom was rock and no sample could be obtained.

Once all data had been recorded we met up with the other groups, who had similar observations of stagnant green water and a lack of bird species. We left the reconstructed wetlands for the last time, and made our way back to the hotel, where we went to a local Italian-themed restaurant for a pizza lunch. After packing our bags, we boarded a bus bound for the last destination of our trip, Shanghai. Along the way we watched the scenery change and urbanize as farms and ponds gave way to more high-rise buildings and various businesses. As we drove into the big city, the population density increased, as did the traffic.

Once in Shanghai, we checked in at our hotel and had dinner. Then, our class walked to the Sino-Canada Cooperation Centre at Tongji University for a brief lecture on environmental DNA by our very own TA, Wenxi Feng. Some of the topics included the use of eDNA as a non-invasive tool to observe various aquatic species and the obstacles faced by this relatively new environmental assessment technology. After the talk, the Sino-Canadian classmates made their way back to the hotel, where they retired for a well deserved night’s rest.


大家在会议室开始讨论一天的行程,塔莎、尼克和元辰提出了很好的建议,我则属于王老师说的“wait things to happen”(没有主动性,等待事情发生)的神游状态。




鸊鷉幼鸟在水面安静的游弋,需要特别注意的是,由于只有成年鸟才可以迁徙,所有的幼鸟都只可能是本地产生的,这说明湿地已经具有了鸟类繁殖的生态功能。我们又见到家燕飞出优美的折线,八哥则是平滑的曲线。两只夜鹭从50m外飞过,这个现象细心的尼克当然不会放过。这一个早晨我们看到了10种共计25只鸟,我觉得真是迎来了自己的“big morning”!







环境DNA指的是生物在环境中留下的DNA样本,比如水环境中动物的脱落细胞,分泌物等,由于DNA的稳定性,这种信号在两周内都是可检测的。这就为我们提供了一种方便的,对生物无影响的,高度敏感的生物调查方法。这种方法可能面临的主要问题DNA污染和一个样本点所能代表的时空范围不精确。需要生命的是,这种方法检测的是线粒体DNA。原因如下:1、线粒体基因组拷贝数更多. 2、线粒体环状DNA比线状DNA更加稳定。让我们祝愿文熙学长的研究能够顺利进行!


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August 10 – At Gonghu Bay reconstructed wetland

Team: Red swamp crayfish

This morning we set out to do investigation at the Gonghu Reconstructed Wetland. Each group need to do the work – including bird surveys, water chemistry and landscape observation especially vegetation coverage at three points and in all we do 21 points which  basically will cover the whole wetland and give us a overview of this area. The intention is to sample withing each of two phases of the wetland plus outside of the wetland in Taihu proper. Dr. Lougheed will go to each group in turn to help us do the bird surveys. Each avian survey was a fixed radius (50 m) point count lasting 15 minutes, where we record each species. Previously Dr. Wang showed us methods and talked about the principles  of measuring various water samples. Now we get to put this learning into action.

This morning we first came to our first sampling point in Phase 1 of the wetland (the first part of the reconstruction). My group was at a shady spot under some trees, a good place to watch birds, from where we can get a wide vision and work out things easily. For Dr. Lougheed, birds can be readily identified using all kinds of diagnostic details, including  flight behaviour, sounds, shape and colour, and so on. He can quickly tell us the species and name of the bird while we can only realize there was a colorful bird flying away which always seems to disappear. We concluded that this experience is to be treasured and we received a foundation for bird watching on the field. It was wonderful to see such species as the great tit (Parus major), the brown shrike (Lanius cristatus), the red-rumped swallow (Hirundu daurica), hard to find in our usually hectic daily lives especially for Chinese students. Standing on the same spot to wait for birds to come sounds boring, but we actually really enjoyed it – we recorded ten species! The moment we noticed a egret flying towards us or just another little grebe headed out from the water surface we all felt extremely happy.

As for our water sampling and analysis, we met with all kinds of challenges, different from the ideal demonstrated by Dr. Wang. It certainly provided everyone with a great chance to  practice by ourselves and we now know our our weakness and will try to avoid making mistakes next time!

The shadow under the tree provided a perfect working spot for us. We had a wide view and we could see the entire Phase Ⅰ portion of the wetland. Along the bank, we saw some reeds and several other plant species that we don’t know the name of. Further away there was water lily and duckweed, really quite beautiful. There were also some willow on the shoreline that can both grow in shallow water and on land. We noticed there were birds both on the water and on perches.

Wetlands serve multiple functions. One of them is to clean water through bio-purifying process. The water here flows into the wetland at west end of Phase Ⅱ , and goes into the Tai Lake at the east end of the Phase Ⅰ. By comparing the water quality of different regions and points, we may get an overall picture of how this system is working.

During today’s field experience, we encountered many challenges. Besides having troubles with the equipment, we also faced with inefficient communication. Sometimes our kind TA Wenxi had to walk among different spots to help us to pass on the equipment and provide help for us.

Our dinner was pizza at a local establishment. There was a guitar in the café and Steve played several pieces of songs for us and we were amazed by his talent besides watching birds. While eating there, we watched a movie called <the Big Year>. It was interesting because for some of us it was the first insight look on birding and how obsessed and crazy birders could be. Regardless birds are amazing creatures themselves. We truly enjoyed ourselves.


观鸟考察一共进行15分钟,需要对考察点周围方圆50米之内的所有的种类(不限高度因为高空中的鸟也可能因为考察点平面圆内的环境多样性和食物丰富性而停留)。Dr. Lougheed教授在每个组之间轮流转,帮助每组观察鸟类。在一片树荫下,我们一起观鸟,他很厉害,可以通过辨别鸟的叫声、鸟的飞行轨迹等特征来判断种类,在我们只能远远看到一只色彩斑斓的鸟飞过时,他已经准确地说出了鸟的名字和种类。他告诉我们他进行了大概45年的观鸟,果然,经验是野外探索有所收获的的宝贵基础,当然也是我们这些小菜鸟需要学习和积累的。我们看到了大山雀(Parus major)、红尾伯劳(Lanius cristatus)、金腰燕(Hirundu daurica)等平时在城市里并不能见到的鸟类,只有纯净的自然风光和种类丰富的食物才能吸引他们落脚。15分钟站在同一个地方等着飞鸟飞过听起来有点枯燥但是当我们真正投入的时候确实乐在其中。我们仔细地观察各个方向水面的波动——会有一只黑水鸡从浮萍中探出头来,同时注视着眼前一片辽远的天空——期待再看到一只美丽的白鹭飞过。15分钟过后我们组收获颇丰,看到了近十种水鸟.> <.




通过今天的小组活动大家也发现了平时发现不到的一些问题。除了搞不定仪器测不准数据之外,关于组内及组间合作以及与老师的信息沟通方面大家都或多或少存在一些问题。有的组在老师到达之前就离开却并没有给老师消息,有的组等待别的组传递仪器过来但是迟迟等不到诸如此类等各种状况百出。我们总是一意孤行没有考虑到会不会给别人带来麻烦,特别是王老师、Dr. Lougheed和文熙他们要在这么热的天气里在这么大的湿地内跑来跑去给每个组提供帮助,我们怎么可以面对我们这样一群熊孩子,一向好脾气的王老师和文熙也差点暴跳如雷,好好地把大家训斥了一通,大家也都认识到了自己的错误,纷纷表示后悔不已,我们以后一定可以做得更好。幸亏我们遇到了超nice的老师和助教,我们惹出各种各样的麻烦他们虽然生气但不会跟我们计较发完脾气还是跟大家打成一片,很感谢他们也很感谢有这样一个好机会给我们去历练。

晚上大家来到一家咖啡厅,吃到了超棒的西餐好好地犒劳了一下一天的辛苦,Dr. Lougheed和很多同学都弹了吉他,大家真是才华横溢。一边吃一边看了电影《观鸟大年》,这部电影很有趣,以三个人为主角讲述了他们在一年内比赛观鸟的故事,其中经历各种丰富有趣的事,引得大家笑声满堂。我们也是第一次知道竟有这么爱鸟的人,不过难怪,鸟类本身就是一种很令人着迷的物种,另外,这些人是出于真心热爱鸟类热爱自然,当然他们通过观鸟也找到了自己的价值。今晚难得没什么事,在优雅的环境里觥筹交错言笑晏晏,每个人都很放松很开心。

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August 9 – Visit to JDECO and Gonghu Bay.

2016年8月9日 江达生态公司参观,生物监测讲座,贡湖湾湿地概览,湿地讲座,项目规划

Black-faced Spoonbill: Xiaofei Feng (Beijing Normal), Yihao Gu (Queen’s) and Yuanchen Wang (Fudan)


Weather: Sunny 28-34

We took a shuttle bus to JDECO in the morning. The staff showed us around the lab and the deputy director Mr. Wu and his colleague made an introduction of the company and its demo project of Gonghu Bay. We learned about the idea, process and challenge of the reconstruction of wetland. Lots of questions were raised and interesting discussions were made on the generalizability and sustainability of the model as well as relevant social issues. Then Dr. Lougheed gave us a lecture on biomonitoring and basic concepts of species in conservation biology with some interesting case studies.


This afternoon, we took boats to visit the demo project called Gonghu Bay Wetland Project. The water there is quite clear, especially when compared to original Tai Lake water, so many classmates put their hands into water. From Dr. Wang we knew that Tai Lake water used to be drinking water source for Wuxi. We could see that Gonghu Bay divided into 2 sections. As one of them was finished later than another, we could find some of the processes in wetland building. In the wetland, there is a place surrounded by nets, which is used to raise crabs and flood devices in Tai Lake are used to prevent algae from flooding into the wetland. However, those anti-flood devices are actually useless as the design neglected the large size of Tai Lake and the strong wind. In wetland, we can also find sequoia ( Sequoia sempervirens), lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) as well as some terrestrial plants.

今天下午,我们坐船参观了贡湖湾湿地这个示范项目。湿地中的水十分清澈尤其是与外面太湖的原始水质相比。从王老师那里,我们了解到太湖曾今是无锡的饮用水来源,在湖边也能看到自来水厂。我们看到湿地被分为两个部分,其中一个相对于另外一个完成时间更短,因此我们可以从中看到湿地建设的一些过程。在湿地中,有一个养蟹场。在太湖中有用漂浮的装置阻挡蓝藻进入,然而考虑到太湖面积河大,风浪也很大,这个装置并没有用。在湿地中,我们还看到了水杉( Sequoia sempervirens),莲花(Nelumbo nucifera)以及其他一些景观植物。

After the boat riding we got back indoors and had a lecture on wetland from Dr. Wang. He talked about the definition and classification of wetland.


Dinner was at the same restaurant. Then we had an interesting discussion on the different appreciation of natural beauty. Traditional Chinese idea is mainly to bring the nature into the courtyard through building artificial hills and pond, together with bonsai and other decorative plants. And the traditional Canadian view is more of the wild and less active manipulation. Both of these are deeply embedded in the culture and the basic conditions of the countries. After the discussion, we talked about our thoughts on how to design the assessment tomorrow. And tomorrow is going to be another interesting field day.


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August 8 – Jiaxing to Wuxi

Team Finless Porpoise: Caitlin Negus, Chen Yating, Sun Meiqi

Weather: Sunny and hot with a breeze, some rain during the middle of the day

Today was the seventh day of our field course, which marks the half way point. We began the day in Jiaxing where we had the opportunity to try water sampling and to also perform some tests on the water. To collect the water we used a water sample collector that was lowered into the water with the string length at one meter. The sides of the apparatus then closed to trap in the 4 litres of water so that we could raise it up to test the water. We did four tests on the water which included temperature (32 degrees Celsius), pH (7.8), oxygen (17.1%), conductivity, refractory index and turbidity (36.8 NTU). Professor Wong gave us some patient lessons on these various measures and we took careful notes. We raised many questions and learned how to use the equipment ourselves. Thus we learned how to use the small portable units often used in field biology and the importance of variables like temperature, atmosphere, depth, elevation among others.

After leaving Jiaxing we made our way to Wuxi near Tai Lake. On our way we made a stop at East Taihu where we visited the city of Suzhou (again a large city of millions of people) and a historical garden – Liu Yuan (Lingering Garden). Here we got to see many different  species including fish (In the ponds), trees, small flowers and other plants. The rock features were incredibly appealing – often designed to mimic real landscapes. We stood in front of them, and appreciated their beauty under changing light. We are amazed by the intricate architecture and buildings, reflecting the traditional Chinese culture. Each student group had the opportunity to taste delicious local food in shops around  the garden. We then made our way to the hotel near Taihu Lake where we checked in and then had a traditional Chinese dinner.

2016/8/8 嘉兴到无锡


团队成员:Caitlin Negus,陈雅婷,孙美琪





Example of one of the myriad bonsai displays at the Lingering Garden.


Lingering Garden Pond


Lingering Garden doorway looking out into a garden.

August 7 – Yangtze Environmental Specimen Bank

Team Chinese fire belly newt: Natasha Young (QUBS) Mengling Qi(BNU) Mi Leng(SWU)

Weather: Sunny, 27-33°C

On the seventh day of the course the teams assembled at Yangtze Environmental Specimen Bank in Jiaxing to do some water sample analysis and to learn about biomonitoring. Water samples had been obtained from Xinan, Fuchun and Qiantang River.

Half of the teams accompanied Dr. Wang to labs on the premises while the other half went outside with Dr. Lougheed to observe bird species. In the lab, two laboratory technicians walked us through the process of analysing the samples for total nitrogen, total phosphorous and total COD-chemical oxygen demand. For total nitrogen and phosphorous a colour metric is required and so the technicians prepared a standard curve and demonstrated how some of the equipment was used to achieve the high temperatures required for the reaction. The students enjoyed watching the techniques and exploring the facilities.

The groups traded off around 10 am. Outside with Dr. Lougheed, we were able to enjoy the reconstructed green space on the property. A small water body winds its way around the facilities and provides an aquatic environment for local species. Dr. Lougheed taught us the importance of biological diversity surveying. We can track changes in biodiversity over time and thus estimate whether function is recovering in reconstructed wetlands. Birds can be useful bioindicators because their egg shell composition can be impacted with the availability of resources and the presence of toxins in the environment. With this knowledge and an understanding of surveying techniques, such as infinite distance point count, the teams set off to try and spot some birds. Together we helped each other identify several magpies and a swallow before heading in for lunch. It was very hot so there were not many birds to see.

After lunch we had the pleasure of listening to a guest lecture by Dr. Xiang-Zhou Meng. He enlightened us about persistent organic pollutants which can have a large effect on aquatic ecosystem health and need to be a focus of remediation initiatives. We also listened to four seminars presented by our classmates on the following topics: aquaculture, the impact of microplastics on aquatic organisms, the impact of climate change on aquatic environments, and causes and consequences of eutrophication. It was nice to see the culmination of many days of work, cooperation and research. We also learned a lot about the driving factors surrounding aquatic systems in both Canada and China. It was also nice when the work was done and we headed to our beds.

At least some of us did! To celebrate the end of seminars and Nicole’s birthday some students ventured to a local karaoke bar. Fun times ensued and not very much sleep was had. It was a good way to say goodbye to Jiaxing for the rest of our journey. While it’s sad to say goodbye, we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that in a ‘little’ city in China there is a karaoke bar that I am sure will remember our TA Wenxi for years to come.


两个大组大约在上午 10 点交换。外出与Dr.Lougheed观鸟时,我们享有了人工绿地的使用权。水体蜿蜒,环绕四周,为本地物种提供了水生环境。期间,Dr.Lougheed教了我们调查生物多样性的重要性。通过跟踪调查生物多样性随时间的变化,来评估是否功能性恢复重建湿地。鸟可以作为重要的生物指标,因为它们卵壳的成分可能会与可用性的资源和环境毒素的存在有关系。Dr.Lougheed还教了我们一些这方面的知识并了解了一些测量技术,比如点估算。一路走一路发现,过程中看到了喜鹊和燕子。但是因为天气非常热,所以并没有看到许多种鸟。

午饭后我们有幸听了Dr.Meng的演讲。他告诉我们持久性有机污染物对环境有很大的影响,尤其是对水生生态系统健康的影响,当然他也提出了一些补救的行动。此外,我们还听了四次研讨会,分别是关于: 水产养殖、 塑料微粒对水生生物的影响、 气候变化对水生环境的影响,富营养化形成的原因和结果。演讲进行得十分顺利。我们也学到很多关于加拿大和中国的水生系统一些知识,了解到了许多以前不知道的信息,尤其是微塑料,我真的以前完全没有听说过。很高兴看到许多天来工作,合作和研究的高潮。我们还学到了很多关于加拿大和中国周围的水生生态系统的驱动因素。当然完成了工作,回到我们的宿舍就可以高枕无忧了。

为了庆祝研讨会的结束和妮可的生日,一些伙伴去了当地的卡拉 ok 玩。开心驱走了我们的困意。这也许是大家给嘉兴的道别最好的方式,貌似大家都很不舍,但更多的还是开心。当然多年过后我们还会记得我们的助教——文熙。


Fun times ensued and not very much sleep was had.

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August 6 – 1000 Islands & Xinanjiang Dam Visit

Team Yangtze Alligator: Adhiyat Najam (Ottawa) Xuyao LI(Tongji), Guoqing SUN (SWU)

[2013年8月19日] 千岛湖调查,新安江大坝参观(扬子鳄组)

Weather: Sunny, Temp:27-34℃

Today marked the sixth day of the China-Canada field course. After one night of staying in Qiandaohu, we checked out of the hotel at around 8 AM and swiftly headed for the Thousand Island Lake for our cruise. The lake’s water was much clearer than the water we had seen in other parts of China, and Dr. Wang informed us that the Quiandao Lake is the source of Nongfu Spring mineral water we have been drinking on the trip.

We were guided into the boat, which was very comfortable and aligned with couches and snacks we could purchase. While cruising along the lake, Dr. Wang briefed us on characteristics of the lake. He informed us on how in the early 2000s, this body of water had a lot of aquaculture. He additionally described the turbidity of the water as well as the fish that were apart of the local cuisine in this area. It was intriguing to hear about how the lake has changed from over a decade ago, and to learn about the Chinese aquaculture.

On our first stop on the cruise, we got off the boat to observe the nature of the island. We had forty minutes to walk to the next dock, but had the option to travel part of the way by zip-line. The Canadian students all chose to zip-line to the next island which was very fun and exhilarating. We also passed by many stands selling souvenirs as well as a plethora of fish that was gathered in one area for the appreciation of good luck.

At the next stop, we took a cable car up to the peak of the Thousand Islands where we analyzed and took pictures of the landscape and water. Although the heat was sweltering, the view was very beautiful and it was interesting the observe the differences between this lake and the previous bodies of water we looked at. Many of us bought ice cream and cold drinks and shortly headed back on to the bus to continue the cruise.

After leaving the boat, we headed back on to the bus where we made our way to the hydro dam. We learned about its history and were able to see old photos that were displayed on the walls. We were able to be toured around the river reservoir and learn about the construction of the dam and take a look at the generators.

Xin’anjiang hydro-power station is located in Xin’an River , the upper stream of the Qiantang River, Zhejiang Province, China, 170km from Hangzhou. The maximum height of the dam is 105m with the total storage capacity of billion cubic meters. The total generation power installed is 855 thousand kW while the annual power generation capacity is 1.86 billion kWh. Constructed in April 1957, the Xin’anjiang hydro-power station generate firstly ,followed by all the units putting into operation in October 1978. Also as a Reservoir,the station has conditioning properties for several years. The Xinan hydro-power station plant is mainly responsible for peak adjusting, frequency adjusting and emergency of the electricity network in East China. What’s more, it also take effect in flood control, irrigation, shipping, aquaculture, tourism, water sports, horticulture and other comprehensive benefits.

Xin’An River Hydropower Station was the first large-scale hydro-power station after the establishment of the People’s Republic Of China designed, made and constructed by Chinese independently. Xin’An River hydro-power station control the basin area of 10442 square kilometers, accounting for 89.4% of the Xin’An River Basin area. The normal water level is 108 meters with the area of 580 square kilometers and the total reservoir capacity of 22 billion cubic meters.

After the construction of the power station, the flood of 300 thousand acres of farmland downstream was avoided and reduced. The construction of reservoir flooded 85 mountains, forming 1078 islands, known as the ’Qiandao Lake’ which means ‘1000 Islands Lake’. The Qiandao Lake can store 17.94 billion cubic meters of water, with the average depth of 34 meters. Across the lake, 82.5% of the island area is covered with green plant, with the annual average temperature of 17℃ and the water temperature of 14 ℃.

Outside the station, we saw some kind of birds,including several white egrets and a small wagtail.

After returning to the bus, students volunteered to take water samples at various stops,including Xin’an River, Fuchun River and finally Qiantang River in Hangzhou. We had to eventually stop water sampling as thunderstorms came about – there would be no point in our study to collect precipitation water. After a long and exhausting trip back to the Yangtze River Environmental Specimen Bank, the class had pizza and went to their assigned rooms. Although very exhausting, the day was packed with enlightening activities and was a great way to learn more about Chinese history and its ecosystems.












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August 5 – Hangzhou & West Lake

Team Anchovy:

On day 5 of our field course in China, we woke up in our hotel in Hangzhou, had breakfast and left to go geocaching first thing in the morning. Each of the assigned groups was given a global positioning system device and 5 coordinates of unknown destination to venture to around West Lake.

The mystery landmarks each group journeyed too included gardens of lotuses, pagodas and temples. The real fun however lay in exploring the West Lake area with dots on a screen as our only guides. After finding our landmarks and taking group pictures at each it was time to head to the Thousand Islands region.


One of the landmarks that we found during geocaching: a large garden of lotuses in West Lake.


A photo of the mountains that serve as a backdrop for West Lake


Early morning exploration of West Lake – not included in the photo is a group practicing tai chi.

The Thousand Islands area is one that includes a man-made lake approximately 500km^2 in area. The characteristic “thousand islands” scattered throughout the lake are actually the remains what used to be mountain tops sticking out of the water that was brought in 60 years ago. We boarded the bus and embarked on a 2 hour journey southwest of Hangzhou, watching various changing landscapes as we went by. Driving through the mountains we witnessed bamboo forests, lakes and land used for tea plantation on either side of the highway.


Tea plantations en route to the Thousand Islands.

After reaching the Chun’an region, we checked into our hotel and were given free time for the rest of the evening to explore and observe the area ourselves. Our particular group of 10 headed down to the lake to observe it and enjoy the sun setting over the mountainous backdrop.

We noticed the water was very warm, used recreationally and commercially, and contained no aquatic plant life along the shoreline, unlike natural lakes. All of this was of course observed first hand with a swim just off the shore near a hotel strip. After that, we rented tandem bicycles and further explored around the lake, observing the “islands” and their shorelines that used to be the tops of mountains. We noted that the planted species that inhabited them were suited to high and dry environments, and would not naturally grow that close to water.

To finish off our evening of exploring and observing, we went to a traditional local restaurant that served specialties of fish caught from the lake. Finally we headed back to the hotel, recorded our findings in our field journals, and got some sleep to prepare for our next day of adventure!

  1. 定向越野



  1. 从杭州到淳安


  1. 湖边漫步


  1. 晚餐品味



August 4 – Exploring the Xixi Wetlands

Team Golden Rod: Nick Gutkin (Western), Weikang Liu, Suwei Xu

Weather: Sunny with some cloud cover, humid, 35-38°C

Today is the forth day of the field course. We left Jiaxing and started to make our way to Hangzhou. We passed many rice paddies and lotus farms along the highway, as well as plenty of oleander bushes planted in neat rows. Before checking into our hotel in Hangzhou, we stopped at the Xixi Wetlands, a reconstructed wetland park. Once arriving, we loaded into a boat and made our way down the navigation canals. Interestingly enough, the sides of the canal were quite steep; so much so that there were wooden bars in the water to prevent the banks from slipping down.

This was built in a fashion very unlike natural wetlands, mostly to support the movement of boats through the canals. Following a discussion with Dr. Wang, it was understood that the wetlands were built steeply and with wooden walls to prevent erosion and expansion of the banks, which would be harmful for boat passage. In most of the areas we passed through, there were no floating or emergent species of plants along the banks, something that is very unusual to see in natural wetlands. However, in less traveled areas, we could see a smoother transition from land to water – with both floating and emergent plants. As the boat moved along the canal, we managed to get a glimpse of a few native bird species: the little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), magpies (Pica pica) and the black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). The herons we saw flew over the water and perched up in the branches of various trees.

After a while, the boat made land and we walked through the park to a meteorological station. This station was set up to monitor the conditions at the park. The station measured and recorded UV levels, radiation, air pollution and wind among others. The station also compared these readings with those from Hangzhou City, a heavily populated (and thus polluted) place and the Thousand Islands (a very clean area). It was interesting to see that although the Xixi Wetlands were quite a bit cleaner than Hangzhou city, they were far from pristine and could still be improved. After our little tour of the facility, we made our way back to the boat and eventually back on the bus. On the final stretch of the tour, we observed other notable species including various bamboo forests, waxberry trees (Myrica rubra) and mulberry (Morus alba) bushes.

Once we had checked in at the hotel in Hangzhou, we went for lunch at a local restaurant. The meal was focused on trying local dishes such as fried fish in oyster sauce, bamboo shoots, and sweet pumpkin. The lunch was delicious, and we went back to the hotel to work a bit afterwards. Once dinner came around we tried more local delicacies, including freshwater eel, duck tongues and an amazing lotus fruit/water chestnut dish. Everyone left very satisfied and the ‘post-prandial comas’ started to take an effect. We then went into a meeting room to listen to an interesting and thorough lecture on reactive nitrogen management, given by Dr. Baojing Gu. The lecture covered such topics as the extent of nitrogen pollution in China, the major driving forces behind nitrogen pollution (industry and farming) and various studies done in China to better understand nitrogen pollution in order to improve nitrogen use and efficiency. Finally, we listened to a seminar topic on Dams, and everybody called it a night.

Overall, the day was a success, from getting to see a reconstructed wetland in action, to trying great local dishes and finally to learning about the science behind various forms of pollution.



行船途中,我们观察到了几种野生鸟类,小鸊鷉(Tachybaptus ruficollis),喜鹊(Pica pica)还有黑冠夜鹭(Tachybaptus ruficollis),我们看到夜鹭从水面上飞过,然后在枝头栖息。


参观过这些设施以后,我们再次上船,又回到了大巴上。最后一段旅程中,我们观察了像竹林,杨梅树(Myrica rubra)和桑(Morus alba)林这些植物。


晚上我们听了Gu Baojing教授关于氮循环非常详细和有趣的演讲。演讲的主题,包括中国”氮污染“的状况,氮污染的主要原因(工业和农业)和关于中国氮污染的众多研究。这些研究致力于提高了解中国氮污染状况,提高对氮利用效率,减轻氮污染。最后我们听了第三小组关于水坝的演讲。这一晚可谓人人尽兴。


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