Freshwater Biology

Freshwater Biology is a branch of limnology, and it focuses on studying ecosystems in fresh water environments. It looks to grasp how the ecosystems interact with each other, and how they react to their physical and chemical environments. Freshwater biology is often used in industrial processes, including water purification and sewage treatment.

Freshwater ecosystems are divided into two subsections, lentic ecosystems (ecosystems that exist in still water) and lotic ecosystems (ecosystems that exist in moving water). This means it can include lakes, rivers, springs and even wetlands. This is opposed to marine ecosystems, which are solely salt water systems.

The need to understand freshwater ecosystems stems from the need to preserve human life. This is because in freshwater, there were many threats to humanity, and since we need to drink water to survive, it was important to understand why humans were getting sick. An example of this would be cholera, which can leak into fresh water through sewage contamination.

Freshwater biology has a few techniques to focus on biochemical oxygen demand (how much oxygen is needed in a community) and how the ecosystem is structured. The way that events are monitored is through rates of growth, the rate in which species reproduce, behavioral changes, or the rate in which species die in the ecosystem.

Macroinvertebrates (Invertebrates you can see without a magnifying device) are used in models that focus on the events. This is because they are easy to collect, can easily be provoked with stress tests, and how valuable they are to the ecosystem. The only issue with this is that it's hard to replicate it on a large scale.

Figuring out how a freshwater ecosystem that is healthy should look like is done through use of reference sites. These sites are usually easy to reconstruct in still water as opposed to flowing water. This is because flowing water has a constant unknown variable which makes it extremely unpredictable. Some indicators that a reference ecosystem if correct can be a few things, a couple examples would be insect chitin (skeletons of arthropods) and fish scales.

Chemical stress tests on fresh water ecosystems are one of the procedures that scientists will use to help understand ecosystems. Introducing new formerly alien chemicals to simulations can help improve the way of life in a freshwater ecosystem or show how an ecosystem could crumble.

Freshwater biology is a very focused subject that revolves around life in freshwater ecosystems. It has helped keep humans alive through the years. Freshwater biology has provided information to stop harmful toxins, chemicals, organisms or viruses from infecting fresh water, as well as what scientists can do to prevent it from happening. There are many more ways it has helped, and with increasing information, scientists may be able to preserve more fresh water for humanity.

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Branches of Biology

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