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Physiological Ecology Class
Submitted by news on Sep 4th, 2012
One day last April, Science Teacher David Moon took his Physiological Ecology class, a science elective at The Putney School, for a field trip to the Garland Pond brook on the northernmost edge of campus. Here's what David says they were doing:
The students were assessing water quality using a sample of "benthic macroinvertebrates." The sample was collected according to EPA guidelines and assessed to a moderate degree of specificity using a method from that is designed for students and volunteers. After we collected a good sample of stream insects, we later identified them to the level of "order" in the lab. Using numerical "tolerance values" we calculated a "biotic score" that indicates the degree of chemical and physical purity of the stream water. Our result for the Garland Pond brook was "excellent." The sample was full of mayflies and stoneflies, which are very sensitive to disturbances in the water. Biological sampling gives a picture of the health of the stream over a long period, unlike chemical tests that can change daily or even with any passing rain.
Thanks to Georgina Graf '12 for photographing the class.