HOBO Photo Contest Winner Used a Water Level Logger for Measuring the Effects of a Hydropower Plant on Macroinvertebrates

In the fall of 2018, Onset ran a HOBO photo contest on social media, calling for unique applications and photos using HOBO data loggers. Our winner, Alberto Scotti, conducted a study measuring the effects of a hydropower plant on a previously untouched macroinvertebrate community downstream from the plant in Italy, within the Long Term Ecological Research Site of the Saldur stream catchment. He used a HOBO U20 water level logger and HOBO TidbiT water temperature data loggers.

Alberto deployed the data loggers before the hydropower plant was operational so that he could use the data for hydrological modeling of the stream.

Alberto told Onset that he and his team “were trying to roughly predict if and where the macroinvertebrate community inhabiting the stream could suffer from the upcoming activities of water disruption caused by the hydropower plant. This is quite relevant, since aquatic macroinvertebrates are commonly used as a biological indicator for governmental programs dealing with water quality.”


(Alberto and Dr. Roberta Bottarin, an academic advisor at Eurac Research, are pictured above sampling macroinvertebrates on the Saldur stream.)

The study is now in its fifth year, with both hydrological and biological data being analyzed. The final results of this study will be published soon. We will include a link to the study when it is available, so stay tuned!

Some Q & A with our HOBO Photo Contest Winner:


Q: Why did you choose HOBO data loggers?

A: They are affordable, and most importantly, easy to readout in the field and in harsh conditions.

Q: What features of the HOBO data logger do you find helpful?

A: It was very convenient to carry out the readout of the data easily, while standing inside the river (a glacier-fed stream has quite a high discharge during melting season).

Q: How did the HOBO data logger help you in your study?

A: The data we collected through the U20 was absolutely fundamental and of primary importance for the setup of the hydrological model. We were finally able to build a reliable model that indicated the most sensible point along the stream course where we could focus our sampling efforts, to check if any variation in density and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates were linked to the activities of the hydropower plant.

Are you using our HOBO data loggers? Email us at social@onsetcomp.com and tell us what data logger you are using, how you are using it, and why, and you could be featured in an upcoming blog article!

Interested in learning more about water level loggers?

Check out this free guide: Choosing a Water Level Logger – 5 Things You Should Know

As the demand for water resources continues to grow in the United States and abroad, the ability to assess the impact of urban development and agriculture on water resources is more important than ever.

To meet this growing demand, water resource managers, engineers, and hydrologists have a greater need to monitor groundwater and surface water levels with water level data loggers in order to document baseline and changing water levels over time.

This paper provides hydrology, ecology, stormwater, and waterworks professionals with valuable tips on how to evaluate specific water level data loggers, and points out key factors to keep in mind during the product selection process.

Click here to download this guide.