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Stream Ecology: Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Research

BIO 219

Stream Ecology: Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Research

BIO 219

Course Description

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: READING LEVEL 2 AND WRITING LEVEL 2 AND MATH LEVEL 2.

Introduces the physical environmental factors that affect organisms inhabiting streams as well as human influences on streams. Emphasizes the energy flow through stream ecosystems along with the lifecycles and interdependencies of stream animals. Includes fieldwork on at least four different kinds of streams. Emphasizes interrelationships of macroinvertebrate communities within specific stream ecosystems. Includes a weekend field trip with the student paying own expenses. Credit may be earned in BIO 119 or BIO 219 but not both. (30-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Work collaboratively with classmates.

Objectives:

  • Participate in field activities with 1-3 classmates.
  • Share the workload of small group activities.
  • Share the responsibility of acquiring, cleaning and putting away laboratory and field equipment.
  • Share ideas and respectfully receive the ideas of classmates.

Demonstrate the competent use of common instruments and technology used in environmental investigation.

Objectives:

  • Use microscopes to view objects.
  • Use the metric system and typical devices to measure mass, length, volume, and temperature.
  • Follow directions provided with various kinds of scientific equipment.
  • Use chemical tests and indicators to measure concentrations of specific chemicals.

Competently communicate about environmental topics.

Objectives:

  • Read critically.
  • Write effectively.
  • Listen actively.
  • Speak effectively.
  • Develop and interpret graphs and flow charts.
  • Compile a journal of observations and experiences related to field activities on rivers.

Demonstrate the ability to think critically.

Objectives:

  • Integrate concepts.
  • Solve problems.
  • Draw logical conclusions.
  • Make predictions based on experience.
  • Identify trends and patterns.
  • Distinguish between simple correlation and cause-and-effect.

Demonstrate appropriate preparation to participate in outdoor field activities involving sampling and characterizing a stream.

Objectives:

  • Participate in field activities and use appropriate equipment to conduct the field activities.
  • Demonstrate safe and appropriate behavior while conducting field activities.
  • Use keys and resource books to identify organisms typically found in streams.
  • Measure and characterize physical environmental characteristics of streams.
  • Report the results of outdoor studies conducted during the class.

Describe how living organisms, non-living matter, and energy are interconnected.

Objectives:

  • Identify the abiotic and biotic factors in an aquatic ecosystem.
  • Describe the niche concept.
  • Describe predator-prey, parasite-host, competitive, mutalistic, and commensalistic relationships observed in aquatic ecosystems.
  • Describe the role of producer, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, scavenger, parasite, and decomposer in an aquatic ecosystem.
  • Describe energy flow in an aquatic ecosystem.
  • Relate the concept of food web and food chain to trophic levels.
  • Explain the cycling of nutrients, such as nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorous, through a stream ecosystem.
  • Describe the process of natural selection as it operates to refine the fit between an organism and its stream habitat.
  • Recognize that all organisms have an impact on their surroundings.

Compare streams of different quality.

Objectives:

  • Identify organisms typically found in polluted streams and contrast them with organisms typical of unpolluted streams.
  • Identify physical environmental conditions typical of polluted streams and contrast them with environmental conditions typical of unpolluted streams.
  • Relate biodiversity to stream quality.
  • Identify macroinvertebrate organisms associated with specific physical and biological parameters within streams.
  • Describe microhabitat preferences within macroinvertebrate species.

Characterize the abiotic and biotic characteristics of a stream.

Objectives:

  • Describe ways in which stream ecosystems differ from terrestrial ecosystems in terms of the dominant insect groups, the source of new organic matter, and the role of decomposers, herbivores, and carnivores.
  • Describe how land use patterns influence the nature of a stream.
  • Describe the role flow rate, oxygen concentration, substrate, temperature, clarity, and dissolved and suspended solids influence the kinds of organisms present.
  • Describe methods used by various kinds of stream insects to capture food.
  • Describe the life cycles of stream insects.

Prepare representative samples indicating macroinvertebrate site selection.

Objectives:

  • Complete a project that characterizes and identifies life history and natural history, of selected macroinvertebrate organisms.