Aquatic invertebrates as water quality indicators: Bloomingdale Bog Proposal

Semester long research proposal.

The Glenview preserve encompasses the bloomingdale bog boreal wetland complex. This is one of the largest peatlands in New York state. This area has a wide variety of diversity from the inland poor fen in the open bog and dwarf shrub bog at the northern end, and alder thicket along the edges of two bridge brook and black spruce tamarack bog around the entire site. Bogs such as these are naturally acidic and low in nutrients, which leaves them very susceptible to any kind of alteration by increased levels of nutrient inputs. Aquatic invertebrates are species that will inhabit these types of wetlands. They are small animals such as insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms. Many insects have a holometabola life cycle, which means that they begin their lives in the water and this is where they gather all the nutrients needed for their adult life cycle. There are many reasons why aquatic invertebrates are used, and are useful as water quality indicators. For this particular ecosystem we know that it is very susceptible to alteration by nutrient input which could be caused by many factors such as stormwater, pollution, nutrient runoff and many anthropogenic causes. If the glen view preserve is going to have an increase in visitors to the site we need to establish and maintain a natural wetland buffer to reduce all of these possible alterations. When considering development activities to the area we need to minimize actions that will alter the water carries and how it travels. The hydrology of the area can be tested using Aquatic invertebrates as water quality indicators for many reasons. The simplest being that they are easy to collect and identify without harm to the species, or use of specialized equipment. Another reason being that most aquatic invertebrates living in these environments get oxygen directly from the water and not from the air. When an animal that requires high amounts of dissolved oxygen are not found in this area, that could indicate certain types of pollution which take dissolved oxygen out of the water are present in the water body. Due to these animals being so tiny they have low vagility, unlike fish they cannot swim away from the pollution. To my advantage, scientists have been collecting information on these species for years. We have gained knowledge as far as which species are sensitive to pollution, and more importantly which types of pollution present. We can interpret the data based on the idea that the healthy freshwater ecosystems will be very diverse and include many communities with many different  species of invertebrates, all serving different roles within the ecosystem. To assess the health of this area, i will compare the total number of different species found at the site, to another site which is known to be “healthy”. Using a reference site will allow me to analyze the data of the different species and find out the the taxa richness, to then compare the Bloomingdale bog, to the species within the buffer zone. Herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals travel far distances when they are applied, and have unknown lasting effects to many ecosystems. Using Aquatic invertebrates as a water quality indicator will allow me to analyze the restoration of past impacts to the Bloomingdale bog, how much of the natural hydrology is remaining, and predict the outcomes of increased recreation the the Glenview preserve. TO BE CONTINUED…. 

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