How is our drinking water system positively affected by aquatic insects?  The macro invertebrates making streams and rivers their home have many different ways in which they find and consume food.  They serve an important role in breaking down the organic matter that collects on the bottom of streams and rivers in addition to providing a food source for fish.  As a result of how they eat, each species has a different tolerance to pollutants in the water.  Therefore, these organisms serve as important bio-indicators to the health of the waterway.

North Carolina Essential Science Standards - Comprehensive Glossary

5.L.2  Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.

5.L.2.1  Compare the characteristics of several common ecosystems, including estuaries and salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands in terms of their ability to support a variety of populations.
5.L.2.2  Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve, producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).

6.L.2  Understand the flow of energy through ecosystems and the responses of populations to the biotic and abiotic factors in their environment.

6.L.2.1  Summarize how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred within food chains and food webs (terrestrial and aquatic) from producers to consumers to decomposers.
6.L.2.3  Summarize how the abiotic factors (such as temperature, water, sunlight and soil quality) of biomes (freshwater, marine, forest, grassland, desert, tundra) affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive and/or create their own food through photosynthesis.

8.E.1 Understand the hydrosphere and the impact of humans on local systems and the effects of the hydrosphere on humans.

8.E.1.1 Explain the structure of the hydrosphere including:
•    Water distribution on earth
•    Local river basins and water availability
8.E.1.3 Predict the safety and potability of water supplies in North Carolina based on physical and biological factors, including:
•    Temperature
•    Dissolved oxygen
•    pH
•    Nitrates and phosphates
•    Turbidity
•    Bioindicators
8.E.1.4 Conclude that the good health of humans requires:
•    Monitoring of the hydrosphere
•    Water quality standards
•    Methods of water treatment
•    Maintaining safe water quality
•    Stewardship
8.L.3   Understand how organisms interact with and respond to the biotic and abiotic components of their environment.

8.L.3.1 Explain how factors such as food, water, shelter and space affect populations in an ecosystem.
8.L.3.2 Summarize the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers including the positive and negative consequences of such interactions including:
      • Coexistence and cooperation
      • Competition (predator/prey)
      • Parasitism
      • Mutualism
8.L.3.3 Explain how the flow of energy within food webs is interconnected with the cycling of matter (including water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen).

EEn.2.3  Explain the structure and processes within the hydrosphere.

EEn2.3.2 Explain how ground water and surface water interact.

EEn.2.4  Evaluate how humans use water.

EEn.2.4.1 Evaluate human influences on freshwater availability. 
EEn.2.4.2 Evaluate human influences on water quality in North Carolina’s river basins, wetlands, and tidal environments.

EEn.2.7  Explain how the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere individually and collectively affect the biosphere.

EEn.2.7.1 Explain how abiotic and biotic factors interact to create the various biomes in North Carolina 
EEn.2.7.2 Explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere. 
EEn.2.7.3 Explain how human activities impact the biosphere.

Bio.2.1 Analyze the independence of living organism within their environments.

Bio.2.1.1  Analyze the flow of energy and cycling of matter (water, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen) through ecosystems relating the significance of each to maintaining the health and sustainability of an ecosystem.
Bio 2.1.3  Explain various ways organisms interact with each other (including predation, competition, parasitism, mutualism) and with their environments resulting in stability within ecosystems.

Bio.2.2 Understand the impact of human activities on the environment (one generation affects the next).

Bio.2.2.1  Infer how human activities (including population growth, pollution, global warming, burning of fossil fuels, habitat destruction and introduction of nonnative species) may impact the environment. 
Bio.2.2.2 Explain how the use, protection and conservation of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next. 


Comprehensive Glossary - North Carolina Essential Science Standards

Adhesion = When water clings to another surface due to the surface tension of the molecules.  In the water cycle, rain clings to the surface of leaves, branches, and grass.

Biome = A large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat

Bioremediation = The use of living organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or green plant to break down or remove pollutants from a contaminated site.

Biosphere = The regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the earth occupied by living organisms.

Community = A group of organisms living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

Condensation = The process when water vapor as a gas cools and changes to the liquid state.

Consumer - Single-celled organisms obtain energy by eating the producers, tiny particles of leaves, or even each other.

Culverts = A tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under a road, sidewalk, or other paved surface.

Detritus = Waste or debris of any kind such as gravel, sand, silt, or other material produced by erosion or organic matter produced by the decomposition of organisms.

Ecosystem = A group of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

Estuaries = The wide lower course of a river where it flows into the ocean. The water in estuaries is a mixture of fresh water and salt water.

Evaporation = The process when liquid water warms and changes to the gaseous state

Filterers = Benthic macroinvertebrates that strain very small food particles suspended in the water.

Food web = a system of interlocking and interdependent food chains where a hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food.

Gatherers = Benthic macroinvertebrates that use mouths or forelegs to pick up organic matter off the bottom of a river or stream.

Headwaters = A tributary stream of a river that is narrow and shallow located the furthest from the mouth of the river.  

Ions = Atoms or molecules with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons.

Microscopic Organisms = Tiny life forms, often consisting of a single cell, that can only be seen using a microscopic and very sensitive to change.

Mid-reach Streams = A tributary stream of a river that are slightly larger and connect headwaters to the main river.

Pool = A deeper portion of the river created when water in a river hits an obstacle and slows down to make.

Population = All of the inhabitants of an area.

Precipitation = Any form of water (rain, snow, sleet, or hail) that falls to the ground.

Producer = Single-celled organisms that obtain energy by converting carbon dioxide, water, and the sun’s energy into sugars through the process of photosynthesis.  They also provide food for the non-photosynthetic members (consumers) in the community.

Resilience = The capacity of a system to absorb distress or disturbance and recover quickly.

Retention Pond = A low lying area that is designed to temporarily hold a set amount of water while slowly draining to another location.

River = A large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another such stream.

River Basin = The land that water flows across or under on its way to a river. It is usually the lowest point in the landscape

Run = Created when water in a river or stream moves quickly downhill in basically a straight line.

Scrapers = Benthic macroinvertebrates that have mouths adapted for rasping or raking algae off of rock and wood debris.

Shredders = Benthic macroinvertebrates that have mouths adapted for ripping and tearing leafy material.

Stomata = The small pores or openings on the underside of the leaf or stem of a plant that allows movement of gases in and out.

Surface Run-off = Used to describe when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources flow over the land.

Transpiration = The process carried out by plants that releases water vapor into the atmosphere.

Undercut = The process to cut or wear away the part below or under the bank of a river or stream.

Water Cycle = the cycle of processes by which water circulates between the earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.