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Introduction
In recent decades, ecological sciences have seen increased degradation of freshwater environments
(Uherek & Gouveia, 2014). This has resulted in work and research targeted on reducing negative
human impact and restoring disruption of freshwater environments (Uherek & Gouveia, 2014). One
major technique used in ecology to determine the quality of a freshwater environment is through
the use of macroinvertebrates (Carter, Resh, Hannaford & Myers, 2008). Macroinvertebrates are
defined as… removed. There is a deep understanding and large taxonomy of macroinvertebrates,
including life cycles, breeding behaviours which allows accurate experiments to be conducted
examining their physical and chemical responses to environmental changes (Jacobsen, Cressa,
Mathooko & Dudgeon, 2008). Removed. When there is an absence of macroinvertebrates in
freshwater environments, many other organisms which prey on them may be reduced, ultimately
decreasing biodiversity and health of an ecosystem (Morse et al., 2007).
Common measurements taken to determine the physical and chemical make-up of
freshwater environments include pH level, dissolved oxygen level (parts per million) and conductivity
(microseimens per centimetre) (Courtney & Clements, 1998; Kefford, 1998; Connolly, Crossland &
Pearson, 2004). Many macroinvertebrates are sensitive and intolerant to acidity levels higher than
4.5 of the pH scale, which generally causes less macroinvertebrates in areas of high to acidity
(Gaskill, 2014). pH levels disrupt food sources for many macroinvertebrate species, resulting in
reduced number of macroinvertebrates in areas of high pH (Gaskill, 2014.) Removed. Dissolved
oxygen levels also impact the abundance of many species of macroinvertebrate, with research
suggesting that low dissolved oxygen levels ranging from 3.8 ppm or less may reduce the number of
organisms in many freshwater environments (Chapman, Schneider, Apodaca & Chapman, 2004).
Methods such as species richness can be used when researching macroinvertebrates in freshwater
environments, which allows comparisons between separate environments using Sorensen’s
coefficient ( !×C
s1+s2 =

 
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