This paper reviews hidden dangers that threaten the safety of freshwater (FW) researchers of benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs). Six refereed journals containing 2,075 papers were reviewed for field research resulting in 505 FW BMI articles. However, danger was reported in only 18% of FW BMI papers. I discussed: 1) papers that did not warn of existing danger and consider researcher safety, 2) metric threshold values (e.g., chemical hazards), and non-metric dangers, (e.g., caves and aquatic habitats), 3), the frequency of danger occurrence, 4) baseline and extreme values. Examples of 28 danger factors that posed a threat to BMI researchers in water were compared by frequency per journal papers. FW dangers identified by metric thresholds present a safety limit not to be exceeded, whereas non-metric dangers do not have a threshold as further explained. Also, discussed was a recent thesis on civil engineering hydraulics that identified low-head dams as deceptive and an increasing source of drownings in 39 states. A safe shallow water maximum depth to wade and collect BMIs is proposed based on researcher height and gender, compared to human height means in a large database. Practical safety recommendations were presented to help protect the FW researcher avoid and survive hidden dangers.
Stoaks, Ralph D.
"Hidden Dangers to Researcher Safety While Sampling Freshwater Benthic Macroinvertebrates,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 52
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol52/iss2/7