Aquatic Ecology Study Guide

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aquatic-ecology-ostego-county Aquatics or aquatic ecology is the study of animals and plants in freshwater environments. In addition to the many common aquatic species in New York, a student of aquatics learns about watersheds, wetlands and the hydrologic cycle. Essential to understanding and appreciating the field of aquatics is a basic knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of water.

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Water is arguably the most valuable substance on the planet, and is the common name applied to the liquid state of the hydrogen oxygen compound H2O. It covers 70% of the surface of the Earth forming swamps, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Pure water has a blue tint, which may be detected only in layers of considerable depth. It has no taste or odor. Water molecules are strongly attracted to one another through their two hydrogen atoms. At the surface, this attraction produces a tight film over the water (surface tension). A number of organisms live both on the upper and lower sides of this film.

Density of water is greatest at 39.2° Fahrenheit (4° Celsius). It becomes less as water warms and, more important, as it cools to freezing at 32° Fahrenheit (0° Celsius), and becomes ice. Ice is a poor heat conductor. Therefore, ice sheets on ponds, lakes and rivers trap heat in the water below. For this reason, only very shallow water bodies never freeze solid.

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