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Stream - Lab Report Example

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Stream paper 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background information Streams and rivers have been under extreme pressure from anthropogenic sources which have consequently affected the river or stream quality and thus terminologies such as ecological integrity, stream condition and river health have been coined to describe the status of river ecosystems in response to human activities (Allan, 2004)…
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Stream Lab Report
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Download file to see previous pages Functional characteristics on the other hand measures the services or functions provided by the water ecosystem and are measured by the rate of primary productivity and organic matter decomposition. Structural characteristics of a stream are mainly used in the day to day monitoring of stream health. The biotic factors used mainly include macroinvertebrate diversity. Analyses of macro invertebrates in water is important because they are a link to the aquatic food chain, have diverse sensitivity to pollution and is a relatively cheap method for analysis of the stream quality. Additionally, the macroinvertebrate diversity provides useful information on the long term quality of the stream unlike water analysis which provides information for the sampling time only. These invertebrates have differences in their susceptibility to pollutants in water with some being highly susceptible to pollution while others are moderately susceptible with others being tolerant to different levels of pollution. Those organisms which are highly susceptible will not live in polluted waters while the most tolerant can survive. Therefore they measure the levels of pollution in the water and thus by extension the health state of the river. Functional characteristics of an ecosystem when integrated with the structural characteristics help in giving a complete picture of the health state of an ecosystem. This is due to the fact that the ecosystem can respond to human stressors differently including changes to the structure of the ecosystem without changes in functional parameters or changes in the ecosystem function without change in the structure while in some cases there could be both structural and functional changes. The functional characteristics of a water ecosystem can be measured by a number of indicators including the rate of uptake of nutrients, benthic microbial respiration, nitrification, organic matter, invertebrate production and fish production. Abiotic factors are also important in the assessment of the functional characteristics of the water. The concentrations of dissolved oxygen, air and water temperature, conductivity, and the velocity of the water have been shown to affect the health status of a stream or river. This is because the interaction of these abiotic factors with the biotic factors in the water determines the survival and existence of the latter and also the rate of breakdown of organic substances such as leaves in water. The concentration of dissolved oxygen for example is used as a measure of the rate of metabolism in the water ecosystem with water temperature increasing the rate of decomposition. Additionally the increased demands for water for human use have also led to increased abstraction rates of water. This reduction in the water flow due to abstraction has possible impacts on the stream ecosystems (Deswon et al. 2007). 1.2 Main Objective To determine the health states of Molly Ann Brook, Ramapo River and Bear swamp Brook 1.2.1 Specific objectives 1. To determine the structural and functional characteristics of Molly Ann Brook, Ramapo River and Bear Swamp Brook. 2. To determine and compare the health states the Ramapo River upstream and downstream 3. To compare the health state of the Bear Swamp Brook relative to Ramapo River 2.0 STUDY AREA 2.1 Molly Ann Brook The Molly Ann Brook is a tributary of the Passaic River. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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