Science Bloggers for Students DonorsChoose Challenge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Water Quality

This Saturday, September 25, 2010, many communities around the world will celebrate World Water Monitoring Day.  Citizens - young and old, will come together to test the quality of the water they live near and depend on for sustenance.  The quality and cleanliness of our local waters matter because we need water to survive: drinking, cooking, bathing, for our animals (both pets and livestock), for our food (the vegetables that eventually make it on our dinner plates.  Water is so vitally important for our personal healt and the health of our planet.

I'll be at Spring Valley Park in Kansas City, Mo leading water quality monitoring activities with the families that come to the Kids Fishing Derby for Urban Outdoor Day presented by Urban American Outdoors and Kansas City Missouri Parks & Rec.  I hope people see the obvious connection between the activity - fishing - and the importance of maintaining healthy waters for wildlife and future outdoor recreational activities.  I also hope they make the next obvious connecton to their own daily habits and how that might relate to water quality.

Water Quality can be monitored in two different ways: abiotic monitoring and biotic monitoring.

Abiotic monitoring involves measuring the important physical parts of the water environment such as
  • the pH of the water: how acid or basic it is
  • the amount of dissovled oxygen in the water
  • turbidity: how clear or cloudy the water is
  • temperature: how warm or cool the water is
Each of these physical parts are indicators the health of the water.  Biotic monitoring quantifies the type of living organisms in a water way and then deduces the health of the water because we know that certain organisms can only survive within a certain range of each of those measures.

Macroinvertebrates are very good indicators as to the health of a stream, lake, or pond
The presence of many different species and other predatory invertebrates is a good sign that the water habitat can support many food chain levels.

Healthy fish species are also a good sign. Remember, vertebrate species like fish and birds ultimately depend on invertebrate, microbe, and plant species for their survival, too.
Are you celebrating World Water Monitoring Day?  If so, how? Tell me about your adventures.


Angelia Sims said...

I really had no idea that you could gather so much information on water by that. I guess I just never thought of the process. Very cool. :-)

Junneth said...

You did not just posted water by give much information. Great job!

Roberta said...

You found some interesting insects in the water. My eye was immediately drawn to the big ant. :-)

DNLee said...

Thanks. It's alot of fun doing stream ecology and water monitoring. It's a great hands-on science activity for all ages.

And I was super excited about the big ant, too.

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