The Maryland EnvirothonUpdated 2/01/13
Aquatic Ecology Resource Site
This is the study guide for advisors and students participating in the Maryland State Envirothon competition. The four topic areas and listed objectives are the same as the North American Envirothon curriculum guidelines though resources may differ. Questions for the test were generated from each resource listed under a particular topic. Please note that though there are many resources listed, and those resources cover many topics, students will only be responsible for the information pertaining to the specific objectives listed below.
I. Abiotic Factors
Know the processes and phases for each part of the water cycle and understand the water cycle’s role in soil nutrient erosion, and climatic influences.
Understand the concept and components of a watershed and be able to identify stream orders and watershed boundaries. Know the feature of a healthy watershed and an unhealthy watershed.
Know how to perform and interpret chemical water quality tests and understand why aquatic organisms and water quality is affected by the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the water.
Natural Resources Conservation Service: How to read a topo map and delineate a watershed.
Basic Concepts On Watersheds:
USGS Water Science Basics-What is the Water Cycle?
Georgia Adopt a Stream Manual on Biological and Chemical Stream Monitoring, Chapter 2 only, pages 19-28:
Envirothon Coach Part I
II. Biotic Factors
Understand the dependence of all organisms on one another and how energy and matter flow within an aquatic ecosystem.
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.
Identify common, rare, threatened, and endangered aquatic species as well as Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) through the use of a key.
Know how to perform biological water quality monitoring tests and understand why these tests are used to assess and manage aquatic environments.
Intro to an Ecosystem:
From Sun to Sunfish:
Maryland Fisheries Management:
Threatened and Endangered Fish Species
Key to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Maryland pages. 6-15, and 64-68.
Envirothon Fish Matching Activity
Envirothon Coach Part II
III. Aquatic Environments
Identify aquatic and wetland environments based on their physical, chemical, and biological characteristics.
Know characteristics of different types of aquifers, and understand historical trends and threats to groundwater quantity and quality.
Understand societal benefits and ecological functions of wetlands.
Understand the functions and values of riparian zones and be able to identify riparian zone areas.
Introduction to an Ecosystem:
USGS Ground Water:
IV. Water Protection and Conservation
Understand how education programs and enforcement agencies are working together to protect aquatic habitats and preventing those who use our waterways from inadvertently transporting Aquatic Nuisance Species from one river to another.
Interpret major provincial and/or federal laws and methods used to protect water quality (surface and ground water). Utilize this information to propose management decisions that would improve the quality of water in a given situation.
Be familiar with the federal, state, and county agencies that provide oversight of water resources, and understand that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a useful and important tool in the management of water resources.
Identify global and local sources of point and non-point source pollution and be able to discuss methods to reduce point and non-point source pollution.
Understand the interaction of competing uses of water for water supply, hydropower, navigation, wildlife, recreation, waste assimilation, irrigation, and industry.
Know the meaning of water conservation, and understand why it is important.
Clean Water Act: (no need to know any embedded links)
Facts About Purple Loosestrife
EPA: Understanding the Safe Drinking Water Act:
EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL:
Chesapeake Bay Grasses Dichotomous Key:
The Effects of Deforestation on Nutrient Concentrations in Tributaries of Lake Tanganyika:
Hydroelectric Power Use
V. Electronic Resources (good to know)
In addition to the resources listed above, you can find useful information below about various aquatic topics. Keep in mind that test questions do not come directly from these sources.
Characteristics of a Watershed
Provides profiles of a watershed's geography, ecosystem condition, industry, planning resources and watershed management activities.
Maryland Crayfish Dichotomous Key
Official Chesapeake Bay Program Website
http://www.chesapeakebay.net and www.bayeducation.net
Maryland Freshwater Fish Dichotomous Key:
Aquatic Nuisance Species:
VI. Teacher Resources
Project WET/Healthy Water, Healthy People/Discover a Watershed
For information on these materials, please contact Cindy Etgen at email@example.com or visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/education/are/
Eyes on the Bay, visit www.eyesonthebay.net
WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands
Please contact Environmental Concern at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://www.wetland.org/
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