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Too much of a good thing? Exploring nutrient pollution in streams using bioindicators

Author(s): J. Stephen Gosnell

Baruch College, City University of New York and PhD Program in Biology, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

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Students use data on nitrogen and phosphorus levels in streams and macrobenthic insect biodiversity to consider issues of nutrient pollution and stream health while learning to filter, summarize, and plot data.


This module is a lab-based activity where students summarize data on stream nutrient concentrations and explore relationships to aquatic macrobenthic insect diversity.  Concepts related to nutrient pollution and bioindicators are presented. Tools focus on data aggregation (filtering), summarizing (five-number summaries), plotting (boxplots and scatterplots), and relationships (R2 values). 


 This revision includes more detailed introduction to nutrient pollution, bioindicators, and quantitative tools.  Students use a web-based app to develop boxplots (instead of developing them on their own) and focus their analysis on two regions they choose. 

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