Barwon River Ecosystem Health

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Barwon River Ecosystem Health. Field Trip Teaching and Learning Resource. Barwon River Ecosystem Health. This resource has been developed to highlight the pedagogical possibilities of undertaking field work along one or a number of points along the Barwon River in Geelong, Victoria. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Barwon River Ecosystem HealthField Trip Teaching and Learning Resource

Barwon River Ecosystem HealthThis resource has been developed to highlight the pedagogical possibilities of undertaking field work along one or a number of points along the Barwon River in Geelong, Victoria.

The field trip can assist in the application of field work techniques as well as address the topic content for VCE Biology Unit 2: Organisms and their Environment.The students will be investigating the biotic and abiotic factors that indicate the health of the river ecosystem.

The Barwon River flows from the Otway Ranges along the coast of Southern Victoria and flows into the ocean at Barwon Heads. The river system flows through Geelong, with many of Geelongs storm water drains flowing directly into the river system. In the past the river was used as a dump for toxic wastes and heated water from leather tanners and other factories.

It is important to point out that this resource can be adapted and implemented along any water way close to your school......

It can also be adapted or simplified for use with middle years SOSE and Science units..........VCE Biology Curriculum LinksUnit 2: Organisms and their EnvironmentStudents study.......The relationships between living things and their environment

Operation of biotic and abiotic factors in the bioshpere and how factors influence the organisms that live there

Ecosystems as self sustaining systems in which energy flows and matter is cycled between living and non living components of environment

How features possessed by organisms affect their fitness and reproductive success in relation to their habitat

Consider how species are affected by changes in environmental condition, whether natural or human induced

Changes that have taken place in selected ecosystems

How ecological principles can be applied to conserve natural systems and restore damaged ones to ensure sustainability of ecoystems

Investigate how technologies are being used to monitor and manage natural ecosystems and those developed to provide resources for humans

Unit 2: Area of Study 1Adaptations of OrganismsKey KnowledgeDiversity of living things

Biotic and abiotic factors

Techniques to monitor environmental change

Species adaptations to environmental change

Unit 2: Area of Study 2Dynamic Ecosystems

Key Knowledge

Environmental requirements of Ecosystems

Components of Ecosystems

Population studies

Communities of organisms

Techniques for monitoring and maintaining ecosystems

Survival within ecosystems

Bioaccumulation of toxins in food webs

The variety and effects of regular and short term environmental change and irregular change on ecosystems

Longer term environmental change and its effects on present day global distribution of organisms

Human induced environmental changeUnit 2 Key SkillsInvestigate and enquire scientifically

Apply biological understandings

Select and use equipment appropriate for investigation

Evaluate experimental procedures and reliability of data

Collect, process and record information systematically

Draw conclusions consistent with the questions under investigation and evidence obtained

Communicate biological information and understandingsUnit 2 Area of Study 2 Dynamic ecosystems

Outcome 2 Students conduct and report on a field investigation exploring the interactions of living things in their environment and explain how ecosystems change over time. Outcome 2: Field Work Identify components of a freshwater ecosystem

Examine relationships between organisms and their non-living environments

Use appropriate field work techniques and equipment to monitor the environment

Know how to record appropriate data and interperate that data

Understand safety requirements when working in the field Outcome 2 TasksClassify organisms into trophic levels

Construct energy flow pyramids

Understand how ecosystems change over time due to natural and human influences

Use a computer program to model the effects of human induced changes, such as pollution on the freshwater ecosystem.

VELS LinksDiscipline Based LearningScience

Science knowledge and understanding

Science at work

Respect for the living and non living environment

To create engaged citizens who are capable of engaging in informed debate about science and its applications

Emphasis on the role of Science and the work of scientists of addressing issues of sustainability at a local and global level.

Interdisciplinary Learning


Use of technology

Thinking process and inquiry

Reasoning, process and inquiry

Reflection, evaluation and metacognitionAustralian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) LinksACARAIs organised around three interrelated strands: science understanding, science inquiry skills; and science as a human endeavour

Provides the basis for learning science that engages students in meaningful ways and prepares students to use science for life and active citizenship so that they can function effectively in a scientifically and technologically advanced society .

Provides a foundation for specific learning pathways leading to science and engineering courses at university and technical and vocational education and training.Application of Field Work TechniquesThe following information details how to undertake the investigation on the health of the Barwon River Ecosystem at a chosen point along the rivers edge.

It would be beneficial to undertake this investigation at two points along the river; one in an area with little human interference and another closer to a built up area. Some Points on Field Safety....When choosing the sample site, ensure it has easy access during all weather conditions.

Check that the stream bank is stable and not too slippery.

Inform someone of where you will be sampling and for how long

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear depending on the weather (e.g. Hat, warm clothing, shoes with a good grip)

Ensure you have adequate sun protection (e.g. Sunscreen, hat, long sleeved clothes)

Students should not sample or test without supervision and instruction

Be aware of the natural environment when working at your chosen site (e.g. Snakes, holes, prickly vegetation)

Do not put yourself or others at risk of falling into unkown water and beware of stream currents and undertows when sampling macro invertebrates

Do not drink the water from where you are testing as it may be polluted and ensure to wash hands after being in the field

Be aware of the safety requirements of chemicals that are being used (MSDS of chemicals should be taken in the field kit with you) and ensure that chemical waste is disposed of appropriately (i.e. DO NOT release to environment under any circumstances)Materials Required.....1.Water quality monitoring results sheets

2. Water quality testing kit and instructions- pH strips- Conductivity meter and calibration standard- Dissolved oxygen probe- Turbidity tubes- Reactive Phosphorus kit- Thermometers- Sample containers (i.e. Bucket, bottle)- Waste container- Safety equipment (e.g. Gloves, safety glasses, first aid kit)

3. Macro-invertebrate sweep sampling Equipment- D-frame net- Tweezers and plastic pipettes- White tray to empty sample for sorting- Ice cube trays- Magnifying glass to help with identification- Macro-invertebrate reference books- Macro invertebrate sensitivity charts

Barwon River EcosystemPelicanWaterFlowering EucalyptusFreshwater shrimpSpotted Marsh FrogFoxOxygenHuntsman SpiderFishGrassSalinityMosquitoPlatypusOxygenRainbow LorikeetWallabyPhosphorousLathams Snipe

ReedsTiger SnakeNative mouseBlack Shouldered KitepHAlgaeMayfly nymphLightRabbitFungiAntSoilWater boatmenWood White ButterflyTemperaturePacific Black DuckRed WattlebirdGang Gang CockatooHuman

Living and non-living componentsHabitat SurveyThe condition of the vegetation in and around the waterway provides a good indication of the likely condition of the aquatic environment, contributes to water quality and provides an important source of food, shelter and breeding habitat for aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

Use the following descriptions to assist in evaluating the condition of the habitat around your chosen site. The habitat survey should be undertaken on both sides of the waterway, 50 meters upstream and 50 meters downstream from your site. In addition, photos or sketches to accompany the survey would be complimentary.

Habitat SurveyBank Vegetation (Terrestrial)Bank vegetation refers to trees, shrubs, grasses etc, growing on the bank. Note canopy (the overhanging tree cover). This vegetation provides food and shelter for terrestrial organisms as well as aquatic organisms in the form of fallen leaves, twigs and branches.

Verge Vegetation (Terrestrial)The stream verge is different from the bank. For the habitat survey the verge is considered the section of land up to 30 meters from the waters edge and can be judged by similar vegetation cover as the bank vegetation. Consider erosion. Streams naturally erode, usually on bends (meanders). However, an unstable stream results in continuous erosion along its channel. If the stream has been stabilised with concrete banks, the stream will obviously be stable with little erosion, but should not be ranked as highly as it has no vegetation cover, or it is greatly reduced.

In-stream cover (Aquatic)In-stream cover includes snags, logs, rocks and plants. Consider floating, submer

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