27 January, 2012

Lots 'O Midges I

One project that I have been spending a lot of time working on of late is what I usually refer to as "The Lake Paper." This is a rather abstract title since it really is not about the lake exactly, though as with everything we do, ultimately it has its origins there. This "Lake Paper" is an attempt by a group of us from the wider project to come up with a highly accurate estimate of the number of midges that are emerging from the lake and where they are being distributed on land. This sounds like a very simple question to answer, and perhaps it is, but we have taken a creative modelling approach that takes into account such factors as wind direction, distance of open water upwind (fetch), distance from upwind shore, and rates of midge emergence and "infall" that should tell us what we want to know.

As this project wraps-up (hopefully we are close!) I am going to tell you about some of the insights that we have had as a result of our work and, if I am lucky, show you some cool images of where the midges are going. It is a lot of fun to work on a collaborative project that pulls people with very disparate abilities and perspectives together towards a common goal. It can also be highly frustrating but thankfully I am usually mostly frustrated at myself than with my colleagues.

For now I am going to post some of our best pictures of midge swarms to remind you and I of just how amazing this phenomenon really is.


Lots of midges in 2008.

Dr. Einarsson in a swarm.

A haul from 2009.


Swarms from afar in 2010.

On the side of an island.

Tanytarsus forming a fog over the ground in 2010.

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