Aquatic Ecology Learning Objectives

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For successful completion of the aquatics section, contestants should be able to:

• Know the processes and phases for each part of the water cycle and understand the water cycle’s role in soil erosion, groundwater recharge, and climatic influences.

• Understand the concept and components of a watershed and be able to identify stream orders and watershed boundaries. Know the features of a healthy watershed and an unhealthy watershed.

• Know how to interpret water and biological quality tests and understand why aquatic organisms and water quality is affected by the physical, chemical and biological conditions of the water and how it impacts aquatic environments.

• 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 water usage may affect the ability of the system to sustain different needs.

• Identify common, rare, threatened and endangered aquatic species as well as aquatic invasive species.

• 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 the benefits and ecological functions and values of riparian zones, wetlands and open water systems and be able to identify the associated zone areas.

• Be familiar with both NYS and federal water protection laws and the agencies that enforce those laws. Understand the requirements for required permits.

• Understand concepts and practices to manage non-point source pollution from agricultural, forest and land under development.

• Be familiar with general terminology and definitions pertaining to the subject area.