Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My World these days.

Update of my Activities

It has been sometime since I have done an overview of all the things I have been doing, many of them with teachers, family and Friend, so I have decided to add a note on my blog about my activities during this past last year.
Catching alligators in Florida


At the present moment I have been working at Education Connection in two programs: Project Periphyton  funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adm8inistration (NOAA) and Project CLEAR funded by the Connecticut Department Of Education under an Inter-district Grant.

In Project Periphyton we have been working with 12 teachers from WAMOGO (Waren,  Morris and Goshen) High School, Plymouth High School, The Sound School (New Haven), Danbury High School, Newtown High School, New Fairfield High School and Crosby High School. Teachers and students collect Diatoms from rocks to use them as biological indicators to asses water quality.

Teacher workshop this summer
Project CLEAR have been running for more than 10 years and I have been involved from the start. The objective of the project is to have five high school districts (Danbury, New Milford, New Fairfield, Brookfield and Bethel) involved in collecting data for the Candlewood Lake Authority. Students and their teachers collect macroinvertebrates, core samples (mud), plankton, periphyton, fish, aquatic Invasive plants, water samples, stream macroinvertebrates and forestry data. The data collected is provided to a number of institutions and researchers including the University of Connecticut, The Agricultural Experimental Station, The Candlewood Lake Authority, Western State University and many more.

Processional Collections

For more than 20 years I have been doing an inventory of fresh water crustaceans in the state of Connecticut. At the moment I have collected thousands of specimens that are located at the University of Connecticut at their Ecology and Evolutionary Biology collections department where I curate all the fresh water crustaceans. At the end of this fall I will be adding 300+ new crayfish that were collected by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection fisheries division.  In addition I am collecting more amphipods from several lakes in the state that will be added to the collection. I have detected several patterns compering species and locations and two amphipod species will help me reiterate topographic changes that have occurred since the last ice age. Rivers such as the Farmington and the Quinnipiac, which years ago were the same river happen to have amphipod species that appear nowhere else in Connecticut.

One Amphipod or Two?
Amateur Collections

I have always have had an interest in Botany and Paleontology, so I keep a small collation that grows all the time of plants and fossils.

My botany collection comes from this state and I only gather plants that are in flower. At the moment I have collected more than 1000 specimens that are kept in order and as herbarium mounts. I plan to donate the collection to a university in the future.

My fossil collection is becoming quiet extensive as I have now more than 500 specimens. I buy most of my specimens at fossil shows (I like to have fossils from all over the world) but I also have done some collecting when I have the time and the opportunity. I try to specialize on Invertebrates but I have some other fossils too.

Research Projects

Now and for some time I have been working on two projects:  The Biological Shoreline Development at Candlewood Lake looking at the Macroinvertebrate population and organic deposition from core samples. Candlewood Lake is subject to annual drawdown to diminish the growth of aquatic invasive plants. The objective of my research is to study the consequences of such activity to the lake shoreline.

In addition I have also been now for five years studying the effects of climate change in the same lake by looking at winter temperatures and lake ice formation.  I, with the help of the Lake Authority, have been collecting data using electronic probes set at several sites, under the water and on the air around the lake in early October and collecting them in late March. I collected temperature and light information every 3 hours for several months. Data shows that the lap of time when the lake is completely covered with ice is shorter these days.

Candlewood Lake Temperature Probe
The Prospect Conservation Commission

For the past few years I have been involved with the Prospect Conservation Commission for which I am now the chair person. During the past two years we have finished the “Open Space Plan”, and started to complete evaluation of Wetlands in town and inventories of the vernal pools. In addition we are always busy keeping with all the development that we have in town.


Ten years ago I published a small book called Fresh Water Crustaceans of Connecticut. I printed the book and sold about 1500 copies and now I have been working on a bigger and better edition of the book including specimens and information from the entire North East. The new book will be called Fresh Water Crustaceans of the North East of United States. The book is half done and at the present time I am working with the Clodoceran group. These are small little organisms that resemble mollusk but are not and are found in lakes, rivers and ephemeral water bodies. I hope to have the book finish and for editing and review in one year.


I should not skip the fact that I love to read books, science, history and literature and at the present time I just finished reading “The Historical Atlas of the Celtic World” by Dr. Ian Barnes and I just started reading “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I recommend this book to those that love stories from other countries.


I have done some traveling this past year. My wife and I with some friends visited Ireland about two months ago, for 15 days. Ireland is a beautiful country full of pride and history. I specially loved visiting the Neolithic Sites, some of them older that the pyramids of Egypt. I also had a chance to collect additional fossils there. Italy will be our next European trip.

The Cliffs of Moher, Irealnd

I inherited the passion for photography from my father, who loved to take pictures and collect cameras. I take my camera everywhere I go and give my best work to my friend and family so that they can remember me when they look at their walls. At the end of the summer I will be taking my two 4X5 with a friend to some areas in the shore and do some experimenting with this large format. Large format is much more art and photography than digital equipment.

Family, Friend and my two dogs

I will be lying if I skip my time spend with my wife visiting art museums, my ten gran children and my two great-grand -children visiting  natural history museums,  dinosaurs, the fossil shows, the shore or visiting NY and having them at home too. Love taking my two dogs for a walk and last Love checking out restaurants, microbreweries and festivals for good food, wine, beer and music or having people at home for a good time.

Renoir and the dancers a the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
So this is a short synopsis of my adventures. Please email me if you have questions about these activities and I will try to help you as best as I can.