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Ohio Sea Grant College Program
and Stone Laboratory

Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory

Ohio Sea Grant Summer Student Internship

Project Number: E/OCF-001-PD, Completion Report

Start Date: 5/1/2000

Completion Date: 10/30/2000

Revision Date: 3/12/2012

Principal Investigator(s)1.Frank R. Lichtkoppler, Sea Grant Extension The Ohio State University*
Co-Principal Investigator(s)2.Tim Matson, Cleveland Museum of Natural History*
This shows the current affiliation and may not match affiliation at time of participation. *

Funding Record

Source: Ohio Sea Grant College Program
Source FundState MatchPass Through
Total$ 4,745.00$ 12,677.00$ 0.00


To develop a model for a summer student research work educational experience in the Lake Erie coastal region;
To partner with other educational institutions in Ohio's Lake Erie coastal region to advance the education of individual students by providing a


Data collected will become part of the ongoing s5tudy of the Amphibians, Reptiles and Fishes of the Ashtabula River and Conneaut Creek Drainage Systems. This effort will determine the presence and geographic ranges of target organisms in two important tributaries of Lake Erie. Past work has revealed new drainage records for several species of fish, one species of salamander, and one species of turtle. This information is extremely important in the outstanding of the biological communities of these streams and will aid in the preservation of biological diversity in the rapidly developing northeast Ohio coastal region. The clean up and preservation efforts of Ashtabula River Partnership and Ashtabula River remediation Action Plan Council will benefit from this information. Other citizen groups (such as the Mentor Marsh Board of Management, the Grand River Partners and the Chagrin River Partners) and educational institutions (Lake Erie Science and Nature Center, Case Western Reserve University and more) in the coastal zone would potentially benefit from the model partnership that will be developed.

A small amount of travel money and expendable supply money will facilitate the work of the student involved with this project.


We will involve a student interested in science in an ongoing biological survey of two northeast Ohio tributaries of Lake Erie. Ohio Sea Grant Extension will coordinate with Dr. Tim Matson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) on an ongoing research study of the Amphibians, Reptiles and Fishes of the Ashtabula River and Conneaut Creek Drainage Systems. We will work to develop efficient mechanisms to partner the strengths of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program outreach education effort with the technical expertise of the CMNH, The cooperative management model will be utilized to seek future additional resources to expand the program to include as many as 10 undergraduate and 10 graduate students each summer at a variety of universities, agencies, institutions and non-government organizations working in Ohio's Lake Erie coastal region.

The student selected by the CMNH will assist with summer fieldwork and learn data collection techniques, field sampling techniques, scientific collecting techniques,, specimen preservation, data processing and computer cataloging of scientific data. Field techniques to be learned will include hands-on experiential fish seining, electro fishing, seining and dip netting of amphibian larvae, animal habitat inspection, and turtle trapping. Learning to identify collected specimens will be part of the work duties.

Benefits & Accomplishments

  1. A workable model for a cooperative educational work experience for a summer student intern has been developed that can partner Ohio Sea grant with a coastal agency, organization and/or group. The student benefits from real world work experience gained and the local agency/group gains from the students labor. Ohio Sea Grant gains from the additional work capability and from the additional scientific knowledge developed through the work experience.
  2. The student successfully assisted Dr. Tim Matson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the second field season of a multi year effort to survey the fishes, amphibians and reptiles of the Conneaut Creek and the Ashtabula River drainage systems. During 2000 a total of 36 sites in the two river systems were visited (many several times) and intensive surveys were conducted. Voucher specimens were collected, identified and catalogued by the student. The student processed the fish specimens and learned to identify, preserve and catelogue fish specimens. The student learned field collection techniques. The student reports a greater interest in learning mora about biology as a result of his work experience.

The data collected will help local Ashtabula River partnership in learning the status of the upper Ashtabula River system. This information will be useful in the Natural Resource Damage accessment and restoration process. At least one salamander (mudpuppy) is thought to be declining in the Ashtabula River drainage system from this summers work. Several new drainage records for fish and reptiles were documented. These new records include black crappie, brook stickleback, central mudminnow, grass pickeral, rosy red minnow, Fowler's toad, northern red-bellied snake, queen snake, eastern soft-shelled turtle, spotted turtle, and erythristic red-backed salamander.

Maps, figures and tables for the Conneaut drainage will be prepared for publication this winter.
This data will be included in a scientific publication planned upon the completion of the survey work in 2001 or 2002.

Publications & Media

Peer-reviewed reprints
Peer-reviewed reprintsMatson, Timothy O., Roberta Muehlheim and James C. Spetz. 2004, Survey of Fishes, Amphibians, and Reptiles of the Conneaut Creek Drainage System, Ashtabula County, Ohio
Kirtlandia 54:132 March 2004. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Cleveland, Ohio. Made available by Ohio Sea Grant as OHSU-RS-284
Brochure, fact sheets, posters, research summaries
Brochure, fact sheets, posters, research summariesSpetz, James. 2000, Summer Internship. Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Mimeo. September

Supported Students

StudentJim Spetz - Senior (Graduate)
The Ohio State University
Title: Baldwin Wallace College