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Topics Explored: Biodiversity, Population, Ecosystems, Experimental Design

This case study explores how the biodiversity of benthic macroinvertebrates have a direct correlation to the level of pollution within a river.  Answer key included.

Case Study: Benthic Macroinvertebrates (Teacher & Student Edition)

  • ZIP file containing 2 PDF files 
    (1 Teacher Edition and 1 Student Edition)

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
    HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
    HS-ESS2-5. Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
    HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.

    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:
    2.4 Describe ecological tolerance.
    8.1 Identify differences between point and nonpoint sources of pollution.
    8.2 Describe the impacts of human activities on aquatic ecosystems.
    8.5 Explain the environmental effects of excessive use of fertilizers and detergents on aquatic ecosystems.
    8.6 Describe the effects of thermal pollution on aquatic ecosystems.

    AP® Environmental Science Practices:
    1: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. 
    2: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes. 
    3: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues. 
    4: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles. 
    5: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.
    6: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.
    7: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.

    IB Environmental Systems Learning Objectives:
    2.1.1 Distinguish between biotic and abiotic (physical) components of an ecosystem.                           
    2.2.1 List the significant abiotic (physical) factors of an ecosystem.
    2.3.4 Define the term diversity.
    2.3.5 Apply Simpson’s diversity index and outline its significance.
    4.2.1 Identify factors that lead to loss of diversity.
    5.1.1 Define the term pollution.
    5.1.2 Distinguish between the terms point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution, and outline the challenges they present for management.
    5.1.3 State the major sources of pollutants.
    5.2.1 Describe two direct methods of monitoring pollution.
    5.2.2 Define the term biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and explain how this indirect method is used to assess pollution levels in water.
    5.2.3 Describe and explain an indirect method of measuring pollution levels using a biotic index.
    5.4.1 Outline the processes of eutrophication.
    5.4.2 Evaluate the impacts of eutrophication.
    5.4.3 Describe and evaluate pollution management strategies with respect to eutrophication.


    AP® is a registered trademark registered by the College Board®. IB® is a trademark registered by the International Baccalaureate Organization®. This work/product/service has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the College Board® or the International Baccalaureate Organization®. 

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