Stream Ecology Intro

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9.24.2012|
Stream Health|
Prickett’s Creek, West Virginia|
|
Joshua Bombard, Devony Jones, Devin Pryor, Lindsey Pryor|
9/24/2012|

In this lab we measured and examined several different factors from Prickett’s Creek. In the following introduction I will explain what stream ecology is and how are experiments will justify or appeal my hypothesis. |

Stream ecology is the overall health of the water and the surrounding ecosystem. There are many different components that make up a stream’s health. The main factors that affect stream ecology are: geology, climate, vegetation, nutrients, bacteria, temperature, DO (Dissolved oxygen), and toxic chemicals. The shape of the land and the soil is also a big part and can be changed with human activity. The pace of the stream can also change the type of ecosystem that the stream is.

Climate plays a major part in stream health. The sun, temperature, and season are all relative when discussing the health of a stream. As I wrote my hypothesis I tried to recall the weather and sun exposure over this past year. When the sun is out plants carry out a phase called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is when the plants convert CO2 (carbon dioxide) into O2 (oxygen) for food. The O2 then is released into the water which is great because dissolved oxygen is needed for a healthy stream.

Vegetation is important in stream health because they carry out photosynthesis. They also provide shelter and good for organisms. They also provide stability and support for the soil and sediments of the stream. No habitat would be able to develop for animals and organisms if everything in the stream would keep being washed away.

Bacteria and toxic chemicals are a major factor, but they are not a helpful factor. Toxic chemicals in the stream are mainly caused by human activity. When toxic chemicals are present in the stream this could cause many problems and result in an unhealthy stream. Toxic chemicals such as the cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogenic hydrocarbons) that are released by cars, trucks, vans, and other vehicles can cause pollution in a stream. These chemicals can cause massive damage in fish and birds. When many of the fish and birds are killed by bacteria and chemicals this can cause an unbalance in the ecosystem.

Bacteria in the water are similar to toxic chemicals in how it affects stream health and organisms. There are many different types of bacteria that can be found in water. Most are hazardous to the health of the ecosystem and can kill animals and conflict water health. E coli is a bacteria that is usually monitored in water because they can help determine the amount of pathogens in the water that can cause health issues. Bacteria are introduced into the water the same as toxic chemicals are; water and rain can transport these bacteria and chemicals through runoffs.

In our experiment we will be splitting up into groups of four. Each group will take water samples at different locations of the stream and determine several traits of the water in the stream. We will also be collecting organisms and insects that are found in the ecosystem. We will also be noting the water conditions such as odor, color, and scum.

A lot of important information that we find will be taken by our probe devices that measure temperature, pH, and more. Since there are so many factors that go into stream health we will have to record several different variables at the site of Prickett’s creek. Hopefully we do not find any representation of harmful chemical levels, bacteria, and toxins in the stream. If we do not find any harmful factors in the ecosystem then I believe my hypothesis will be correct that the stream will be relatively healthy.

Citations:
Books:
1- Tropical Stream Ecology (book)
This book talks about the ecological responses of stream habitats. The book discusses what and how the factors affect the stream habitats. The book discusses the largest impact on stream...
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