Unit 3: Monitoring Pollution - Biotic Indices

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  • Monitoring Pollution and Biotic Indicies
    • Lichen (acid rain) or aquatic invertebrates used (Trent Biotic Index)
      • Sensitive to pollution
      • Presence or absence, abundance, size, state of health and appearance can all be indicators
        • Must be normally abundant and present and evenly distributed
      • Easy to find and identify and or/catch
      • Range of species with different tolerances used
    • Standardised factors
      • Rain/wind exposure (lichens)
      • Temperature of water (aquatic)
      • Surface of attachment (lichens)
    • Large sample area size
    • Range of sample locations - different pollution levels, distances from source
    • Biotic index - monitoring pollutant amounts using living organisms
    • Advantages
      • Monitors current and past pollution
      • Help to trace pollution source
      • Very sensitive
      • Low levels of pollutants that bioaccumulate may be detectable in high concs in organisms
      • No need for expensive equipment
    • Disadvantages
      • Time consuming to sort samples
      • Difficult to interpret results for non-biologists
      • Difficult to identify if inexperienced
    • Biotic scale/index can be calculated
    • Choosing Sample Sites
      • Random or systematic sampling used?
      • Use areas with different pollution concentration
      • Large number of sample sites
      • Use old sites where biotic indicies has had time to colonise
      • Similar other abiotic factors e.g. rainfall, wind, light
      • Same substrate (for lichens) as pH may affect distribution

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