See NIWA scientists talking about their work, along with fascinating animations and underwater footage.

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The world's most mysterious fish
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SHMAK Water Quality – Phosphate
Phosphate is measured in SHMAK using the Hanna Instruments Phosphate Checker.
SHMAK Water Quality – Nitrate
The nitrate test included in SHMAK is a colorimetric test.
SHMAK Water Quality – Temperature and Conductivity
Temperature and conductivity are two easy measurements you can take in your stream. Options for continuous temperature monitoring using a temperature logger are given.
SHMAK Water Quality – Visual Clarity
There are two methods to determine visual clarity in SHMAK; the clarity tube (or SHMAK tube) and the black disc method.
What is Included in SHMAK
SHMAK is available as a starter kit, a standard kit and SHMAK+. Here we explain what is included in the kit and what extras you need to purchase on your own.
Setting up your Site
The various assessments in SHMAK are done over different lengths (reaches) of stream.
SHMAK Stream Life – Periphyton
Periphyton refers to communities of algae and cyanobacteria attached to the sediment surface or to aquatic plants.
SHMAK Stream Life – Macrophytes
Macrophytes are large aquatic plants.
SHMAK Habitat - Rubbish
The SHMAK method for rubbish involves collecting and identifying all the rubbish (litter) in the stream and on the stream banks.
SHMAK Habitat – Visual Habitat Assessment
The SHMAK visual habitat assessment needs no equipment, only your eyes. It gives your stream a score that you can use to assess changes over time or compare streams.
SHMAK Habitat – Streambed Composition
There are two methods for describing streambed composition: the visual assessment method is quicker while the Wolman walk is more accurate.
SHMAK Stream Life – How to Sort and Identify your Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sample
An ice-cream tray provides an excellent container to isolate and separate your benthic macroinvertebrates.
SHMAK Stream Life – How to get your Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sample Ready for Sorting
Before you can start looking at what animals you have collected, you have to clear as much debris away from your sample as you can.
SHMAK Stream Life – Collecting Benthic Macroinvertebrates in Muddy-Bottom Streams
If your stream has a muddy-bottom or soft-bottom (made of silt or mud), you need to use a different method than if your stream has a stony-bottom.
SHMAK Stream Life – Collecting Benthic Macroinvertebrates using the Kick-Net Method
A net allows you to collect a greater range of benthic macroinvertebrates and more accurately assess the diversity of the community.
SHMAK Stream Life – Collecting Benthic Macroinvertebrates using the Stone Method
If you don’t have a net, you can collect stones from the streambed and collect the invertebrates that are clinging to the stones.
How to Collect a Water Sample
Some SHMAK tests require you to collect a water sample. If you are sending your water sample to a lab for analysis, a list of some water quality labs is given below.