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Bioindicators and Water Quality Assessment

This paragraph discusses the use of bioindicators in assessing the health of natural ecosystems and water quality. Watch vdieo for more information.

In this video, Prof Fan explains the concept of bioindicators and how living organisms can be used to assess the health of natural ecosystems.

Bioindicators are biological tools that evaluate environmental changes including anthropogenic disturbances such as pollution or natural stressors such as drought. Each organism has its own optimal range in response to environmental disturbances, and this range is called a tolerance range. Good indicator species have moderate ranges for disturbances and can effectively provide information indicating changes in the surrounding conditions. However, not all species can be used as bioindicators, depending on their tolerance ranges for environmental gradients. Bioindicators can also be population or community levels, indicating environmental disturbances by assessing alterations of taxon compositions.

Review questions:

  • What are bioindicators?
  • What is a tolerance range?
  • What makes a good indicator species?
  • What hierarchical levels can bioindicators be used to assess?
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Sustainable Development in Health and Ecology

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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