Hunting Bears with a Microscope

Steve Case, The National Health Museum: Access Excellence

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In this online activity, students use lichens and tardigrades (water bears) to investigate their use as bioindicators of key air pollutants. When lichens are exposed to some kinds of air pollutants, especially to sulfur dioxide, the lichens are injured and die. The lichen coverage in a specified area should be a good indicator of the level of air quality. The diversity of the tardigrade species on the lichens will be used to develop another level for bioindication of air quality. Sections of this activity include: introduction, sulfur dioxide and lichens, sampling procedure for lichen coverage, tardigrade sampling, sampling procedure for tardigrades, calculating diversity using the Simpson Diversity Index, interpretation of results, and references.

This resource is referenced here:
Subject: Biology:Ecology:Principles, Symbiotic Relations:Mutualism, Biology:Microbiology
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12)
Extreme Environments: Altered by Humans
Topics: Biosphere:Ecology:Abiotic Relations, Principles, Biosphere:MicrobiologyKeywords: cryptobiotic state, pollution