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Key Point 2—Biotic factors

National Science Standards Correlation

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the dependence of all organisms on one another and how energy and matter flow within an aquatic ecosystem.
  2. Understand the concept of carrying capacity for a given aquatic ecosystem, and be able to discuss how competing water usage may affect the ability of the system to sustain wildlife, forestry and anthropogenic needs.
  3. Identify common, rare, threatened and endangered aquatic species as well as Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) through the use of a key.
  4. Know how to perform biological water quality monitoring tests and understand why these tests are used to assess and manage aquatic environments.


Suggested Activities:

  1. Describe the habitat needs of three specific aquatic animals, and compare and contrast the flow of energy in three different aquatic food chains.
  2. Create a visual display of rare and endangered aquatic species. Explain how human activities are causing species imperilment and specify actions being taken to protect these species.
  3. Conduct a biological stream assessment by collecting macro-invertebrates. Stream Data sheets (key point 1, resource 4) should be used to record and analyze information. Explain why these organisms are biological indicators that help us determine the health of a stream or waterway.


  1. Introduction to Watershed Ecology: Watershed Academy Web
  2. NOAA The Endangered Species Act: Marine Species
  3. Introduction to Freshwater Fish as Bilogical Indicators  Pages 3-12
  4. Georgia Adopt a Stream Manual on Biological and Chemical Stream Monitoring
  5. WV Save Our Streams’ Benthic Macro-invertebrate field guide



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