On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; we went to different parts of the Coquitlam river near the back of our school to test our water quality, catch and identify invertebrates, and learn more about the biosphere. On Monday and Thursday we searched for invertebrates, and Wednesday we tested water quality.
• Invertebrate sampling
On Monday we went into the pond. We were required to scoop up the bottom debris. Unfortunately my group found nothing in the pond. We only got muddy water and leaves, as most of the other groups. The water quality was very surprising for me, since their water quality index wasn’t far behind ours, at 82.24. The water looked quite inhabitable and murky, but apparently the quality was “good”.
– On Thursday my groups and the class in general had better results in the river. We were again required to wear chest waders, and scrub off rocks into a net to collect invertebrates. I was actually one of the volunteers to go into the water; it was so much fun! We had found many aquatic worms, a Stonefly larvae, and another unidentifiable invertebrate. The other groups had found aquatic worms, Caddisfly larvae, and other larger invertebrates! Our water quality index was at 89.43, quite high on the “good”, and was borderline “excellent”. It took us a while to figure out the numbers because of the typo, but we figured it out eventually. I wasn’t surprised about how good our water quality was; we are after all in beautiful (and clean) British Columbia.
Comparing the two sites, the river had more abundance of life than the pond by a long shot. I hypothesize the reason for the lack of life in the pond was because of the murky water (the lack of light coming through) and the lack of water movement (a lack of oxygen in the water), but the water quality indexes weren’t far off from each other. The swampy pond is quite high on the scale; I guess you can’t judge a water’s quality by it’s looks.
• putting it all together
– We’ve learned in class that the water quality can greatly impact what kind and the amount of invertebrates that can live there. The temperature, the amount of dissolved oxygen, the turbidity, and many other factors can tell you if the water’s ecosystem is safe or dangerous to invertebrates. We can tell the water quality by testing the water, or looking for invertebrates. Some invertebrates are sensitive to chemicals and toxins, and if they’re in that water, it indicates the water is healthy. Some are moderately or extremely resilient to harsh water conditions, and there might not be any at all if the water is that unsuitable for life. Let’s say a pond had been dumped with a harsh chemical like bleach. The algae growing there would die, leading to the invertebrates who fed off the algae to die starve and die; affecting the bigger invertebrates who eat off them; affecting the food chain (or the entire food web entirely). The only life left are the resilient aquatic snails and worms. That is an example of how the water quality could affect the diversity and the number of invertebrates in a body of water.
– I personally enjoyed all the activities we’ve done so far. I loved catching tiny invertebrates and testing the dissolved water quality!
– I’ve learned so much throughout this unit; from the four spheres and how they affect each other, ecosystems, water quality, invertebrates, and so on. I believe the main things I’ve learned are that our earth (split into 4 main spheres) is very delicate and fragile; an earthquake could affect the living organisms or the water quality or the air quality. The biosphere specifically is such a complex, interconnected web of predator and prey, microscopic and gigantic; and that we must protect, sustain, and care for our water. Not only for the sake of our drinking water, but also for the organisms that live there.
– To make these activities more meaningful, maybe we could make a checklist of all the things we could accomplish ie.
– Find at least 3 invertebrates
– Test the water quality
– Scrub 10 rocks to collect invertebrates
– High-five my teammates after every outing
And we could make bonus achievements like ie.
– Put on a chest wader
– Collected the water sample
– Got a positive result from water quality experiment
And things like that. If you checked every single box, you’d get a participation achievement medal or candy or something.
Overall I had such a fun time doing this unit, and learning about the 4 spheres