The Stone Brusher, a New Sampler for Submerged Epilithic Material in Shallow Streams and Lakes

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The Stone Brusher is designed to take qualitative or semi-quantitative samples of material attached to stones at 7-50 cm depth in running or stagnant waters. The epilithic material is dislodged from the stone surface with a rotating brush enclosed in a chamber and the material is drawn up directly into the sample bottle with an air-cylinder. The operator takes a sample quickly and without putting hands into the water. The sampling area is about 28 cm2. The sampler is made of plastic, stainless steel and aluminium and weighs 3.1 kg. The equipment is robust and easily handled and it is constructed to meet the demand for standardized sampling for research and environmental monitoring and to improve working conditions for sampling personnel. The equipment allows sampling from bedrock and large stones that cannot be lifted from the bottom and it can be used for reliable sampling also in fast-flowing streams where the dislodged material is easily flushed away. Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and diatom analyses, this new sampler is evaluated in comparison to the recognized toothbrush method, which indicates that the Stone Brusher reduces sampling variability compared with the toothbrush method.

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