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Investigation of the distribution and abundance off reshwater invertebrates in the Tillingbourne River at Abinger Hammeron Thursday, 17th of October 2002

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Introduction

Investigation of the distribution and abundance of freshwater invertebrates in the Tillingbourne River at Abinger Hammer on Thursday, 17th of October 2002 Introduction My research is about the distribution and abundance of freshwater invertebrates in the Tillingbourne River at Abinger Hammer at Surrey, England. Invertebrates are living organisms without backbones therefore there must be a number of factors, which affect the way they live and reproduce. The distribution of an invertebrate is partially affected by its environment. I chose to observe which species of invertebrates lived in the middle and at the edge of the riverbed- the river being their habitat. I feel that the three most important abiotic factors that contribute to the distribution and abundance of such invertebrates are the flow rate i.e. the velocity of the water, the temperature and the oxygen levels. As well as measuring these three things I did a kick sampling to see which different species I would be able to find in the invertebrates' habitat- the river. There were also various safety measures we took such as wearing gloves and waterproof clothing to protect us from any harmful diseases. We were instructed to handle all equipment gently and accurately to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible. The weather that day was quite sunny that day, which was useful for us because the sunlight enabled us to see well. We took our edge sample from the left side of the river as well as our flow rate, dissolved oxygen and temperature levels. Our middle sample was taken from, you guessed it....the middle. Throughout the rest of this research you will find the results of my observations on the flow rate, oxygen levels and the different species of freshwater invertebrates that I found. Predictions: 1. The water velocity is going to be greater at the middle of the river. 2. The water temperature will be greater at the edge of the river. ...read more.

Middle

Animals that are adapted to living at the edge of the river are Springtails, they mainly feed on vegetation and therefore the edge of the river is more ideal for them rather than the middle. A problem with this result is that the middle section of the river may have been disturbed when someone may have walked through it forcing the invertebrates to flee to the edges, temporarily populating that area further. Detailed description of six different freshwater invertebrates I am now going to describe, in detail, five different species with their different adaptations that enable them to survive in the part of the river they live in. Each of the following inhabitants belongs to the population of other invertebrates like themselves. They live an ecosystem- the living organisms and the area they inhabitat as a whole. Water boatmen Water boatmen are insects that can be found in small rivers and streams. They prefer to live in rivers/ streams with a low water velocity because they are not well adapted enough to survive high currents; they are usually found on the surface of the river however, as they are good swimmers and land and river residing insects they can be found at either the edge of middle of the river. The results show that one was found at the middle and two at the edge, our group found one at the middle of the river, it may have been at the edge and moved or may have been swimming in search for food. They can live on land or in water making them amphibious. These aquatic bugs have paddle-like adaptations on their hind legs -which have stiff hairs that help them push against the water- that help them to swim quicker in a river. The one my group found in the Tillingbourne River was an exceptionally swift swimmer and was able to survive out of water when it jumped out of our tray before being caught. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some people may have felt that all the predictions/ hypotheses made were true and when they got their results they may have feared that they had the wrong results and so adjusted their results to their neighbours' or someone else's. Time was also an issue. I feel that we should've been given a longer period of time in which to measure the oxygen levels, velocity, and temperature of water as well as do the kick sampling. Our groups were small so we had to work economically and efficiently. This may have affected our results to an extent. The quality and accuracy of the observation is one of the things, which are not fully correct. As we are not professionals in river studies, many of our measurements and results are possibly incorrect. I am not entirely confident that the results achieved are highly reliable. The results depended on teamwork and a certain level of understanding in the subject matter. We all worked individually as well as in a team and if we were given the opportunity to do the research again I think that there would be a significant increase in the standard and quality of the work produced. Many of the anomalous results are due to the fact that as inexperienced freshwater ecologists we were more prone to make mistakes and the suitability of our methods were accurate enough for the research we performed but I feel that if we used more developed methods and machines to record our research. For instance, an Impellor that had its own timer, which started in accordance to when the propeller starts moving. And a machine, which gently goes in the water gently without contaminating the sample. The best solution for the prevention of the contamination of the results is for everybody to have a very big gap between them and another group. Furthermore, I think that by recording some of the other, slightly more detailed, abiotic factors we would be able to get a clearer perspective on things that affect the distribution and abundance of freshwater invertebrates in that ecosystem. ...read more.

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