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Biology SC1 - An Investigation Into The Effect Of Pollution On The Distribution Of Organisms Along The River Roding System

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Introduction

BIOLOGY SC1 AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EFFECT OF POLLUTION ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF ORGANISMS ALONG THE RIVER RODING SYSTEM Method Equipment Pond net Tray Pots and lids Spoons Hand lens Wellington boots Specimen Pots Freshwater Invertebrate Key Scrap Paper (note pad) Gloves Tape to cover cuts Pencil I investigated how the quality, amount of dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates and the temperature of the water in the River Roding System affected the distribution of organisms in the river. I chose six suitable sites along the river Roding System: Furze Ground, Pyrles Brook, Debdon Brook Downstream, River Roding Upstream, River Roding Middle Stream, and River Roding Downstream. Each site was investigated in groups. At each site we firstly sampled the biotics. We looked for the indicator species (the invertebrates that are affected by pollution). We obtained these samples by using the method of kick sampling. A tray was filled with clear water from the river. One member of the group stood in the river holding a net with his feet facing in the direction of the flow as shown in the diagram above. That person then shuffled his feet for 30 seconds catching the disturbed material in the net. The material in the net was then placed in the tray of water. For the next 10 minutes the invertebrates were identified from the sample using a key. The numbers and types of invertebrates were recorded. This was repeated once more in a different part of the site. Then we tested for the abiotic factors. We did this at the site and so had taken our equipment to the site. ...read more.

Middle

This must have occurred because when there is a high nitrate and phosphate content there is an increase in algae and other plants because they are nutrients. These plants give out oxygen during photosynthesis, which increases the oxygen level initially. This must be when the tests were carried out giving high oxygen readings. This means the process of eutrophication has not been fully completed. From the graph showing how oxygen affects the number of invertebrates I also obtained a correlation. It showed that the more dissolved oxygen the greater number of invertebrates which supports my scientific background knowledge. The graph showing the effect of oxygen on the BMWP score states that an increase in oxygen gives a greater BMWP score. This means that the site with the worst quality water was Furze Ground and the best was River Roding Midstream and Downstream as the BMWP score is a measure of water quality. These two graphs also gave a similar correlation to each other. This is because both use all the invertebrates found in the river. The reason why the number of invertebrates increasing as the dissolved oxygen content increased was because some invertebrates cannot tolerate low oxygen level. Therefore when the oxygen is high there are more species that can tolerate the conditions giving higher numbers of invertebrates. Also a high oxygen content gives the invertebrates more energy and so they breed which again increases the number of invertebrates. The BMWP increases because the species that cannot tolerate high oxygen levels have higher points and so when they are present the score increases. The simple key results were also a score of the cleanliness of the water. ...read more.

Conclusion

The procedure was suitable for the investigation because I was able to see and conclude how pollution affects the type and number of invertebrates in a particular area. Also it was fairly easy to carry out and used the time we had well. The quality and accuracy of the evidence I obtained could have been improved. I could have done more replicates of kick sampling to obtain more accurate results. I could have repeated the nitrate, phosphate and oxygen tests to get more accurate results and also to be able to identify anomalous results. I could have increased the recording time after the kick sampling to obtain a more thorough set of results. I could have used a microscope when identifying the invertebrates to able to record the smaller invertebrates. There is also a lot of further work I could carry out to extend my investigation. I could take samples from more sites along the river Roding System to show me more about the factors that cause the pollution in the river. I could carry out different tests on the water for example the pH and ammonium that also affect the invertebrates living in the water. pH tests would test for chemical pollution like acid rain. I could find the exact depth, width and speed of flow of the water as these factors may affect the distribution of invertebrates. I could find out where the sewage output into the river is to see where I should expect a lot of pollution to be. From the evidence I obtained I was able to come to a fairly firm conclusion. However I have found many other factors that may have affected the invertebrates which if were investigated may have made the results more accurate and reliable. ...read more.

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