Monitoring environmental changes

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  • Monitoring environmental changes
    • this requires studying and analysing both abiotic and biotic data
      • abiotic factors such as carbon dioxide levels, size of polar ice caps, ice density and sea levels can be measured as indicators of the extent of global warming
    • Biotic Data
      • such as the number and distribution of plants and animals can also be useful in identifying changes in the environment
      • lichens are a common biological indicator used to measure the level of air pollution
        • lichens are the crusty organisms that grow in inhospitable places such as on rocks and bricks and on the side of trees
        • they range in colour from grey-green to orange and red
        • they are a mixture of two organisms - an algae and a fungus
        • some lichens are very sensitive to air pollution, particularly to the sulfur  dioxide has that's produced when fuel like coal and oil are burned
        • only a few species can survive in areas of high pollution, so they act as an indicator of air quality
        • in severe polluted environmentsonly a couple of species survive
        • as lichens only grow very sowly, even if a previously polluted area becomes clean, it will take a long time for the more delicate lichens to re-establish themselves
    • Biotic Data
      • water pollution can be measured by the number of bloodworms present
      • these worms are called bloodworms due to their red colour and they are particularly common in polluted water
      • they are a good indicator of eutro-phication    as they are particularly abundant in water with low oxygen levels
  • lichens and bloodworms are examples of indicator species


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