Measuring Environmental Change

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Define indicator species.
Organisms that are very sensitive to changes in their environment and so can be studied to see the effect of human activities.
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How can air pollution be monitored by indicator species?
Air pollution can be monitored by looking at particular types of lichen that are very sensitive to the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. Number and types of lichen at a location will indicate how clean the air is.
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How can water pollution be monitored by indicator species?
If raw sewage is released into a river, the bacterial population in the water increases and uses up the oxygen. Invertebrates - mayfly larvae - good indicators for water pollution - very sensitive to the concentration of dissolved oxygen in water.
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If you find mayfly larvae in a river, what does this indicate?
The water is clean.
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If there are lots of lichen at a particular location, what does this indicate?
The air is clean.
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What kind of species are adapted to live in polluted conditions?
Invertebrate species, e.g. rat-maggots and sludgeworms - indicate very high level of water pollution.
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What are non-living indicators?
Things such as satellites, automatic weather stations, rain gauges and dissolved oxygen meters which scientists use to collect data about the environment.
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How do scientists use satellites as a non-living indicator for environmental change?
To measure temperature of the sea surface and the amount of snow and ice cover. Modern, accurate instruments and give a global coverage.
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How do scientists use automatic weather stations as non-living indicators for environmental change?
To tell us the atmospheric temperature at various locations. They contain thermometers that are sensitive and accurate - they can measure to very small fractions of a degree.
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How do scientists use rain gauges as non-living indicators for environmental change?
Measure rainfall to find out how much the average rainfall changes year on year.
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How do scientists use dissolved oxygen meters as non-living indicators for environmental change?
They measure the concentration of dissolved oxygen in water to discover how the level of water pollution is changing.
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Card 2

Front

How can air pollution be monitored by indicator species?

Back

Air pollution can be monitored by looking at particular types of lichen that are very sensitive to the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. Number and types of lichen at a location will indicate how clean the air is.

Card 3

Front

How can water pollution be monitored by indicator species?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

If you find mayfly larvae in a river, what does this indicate?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

If there are lots of lichen at a particular location, what does this indicate?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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