An Investigation of the Jordan River`s Water Quality over Time by Observing Its Amount of Macroinvertebrates

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AnInvestigation of the Jordan River`s Water Quality over Time byObserving Its Amount of Macroinvertebrates



AnInvestigation of the Jordan River`s Water Quality over Time byObserving Its Amount of Macroinvertebrates

Anthropogenicsources of pollution and environmental stressors can impede thefunctionality of freshwater populations consequently, causing anoverarching problem on ecosystem functions and services. Pesticideresidues are common in water sources such as streams and rivers thatexhibit agricultural influences in the watershed regions (Nowell,Norman, Moran, Martin &amp Stone, 2014). The most predominant way ofdetermining toxicity among indicator species is the use ofstandardized tests that focus on specific species and specificpesticides. The use of PTI (Pesticide Toxicity Index) aids to assessand describe aquatic toxicity. A practical investigation of waterquality was conducted between the 14thand 20thof February 2017 at the Jordan River. The study focused ondetermining the number of macroinvertebrates at the river. The studywas conducted by the entire Q200 class as a class and as groupings,and data compared with the data collected by the fall 2016 class.From gathered data and subsequent analysis, the water quality of theJordan River has improved over time since macroinvertebrates residingin it are exhibiting better tolerance levels as compared to the lastdata set, as well as a gradual increase in P-scores from 2015 to2017.

PTILevels Comparison Charts

Fourdifferent graphs were generated that presented the suggestion of animprovement in water quality of the Jordan River. However, only threewill be used to illustrate and defend this claim. The first twocharts are comparative graphs that reveal a general trend in averageriver PTI levels. The first graph is from the previous class’s datapresentation in fall 2016.

Fromthe 2016 figure, intolerance levels were almost two-thirds of theentire community at 68%. This percentage means that the river was 68%intolerant to macroinvertebrates during this time. The sum of `fairlytolerant` and `very tolerant` proportions adds up to 4%. Below is asimilar study’s graph presentation but in 2017.

Aninstant look at the representation shows a significant decrease inthe intolerant proportion as compared to the 2016 study. The rivershowed an increase in both `moderately intolerant` sections as wellas the `tolerant` parts. Significantly, the rivers PTI levelsincreased from 4% in fall 2016 to 10% in spring 2017.

GraphRepresentation of P-Sores

Similarly,graph representations show a gradual but steady increase in p-scoresat the river from 2015 to 2017.

P-scoresillustrate the quality and amount of macroinvertebrates in the river.Therefore, it is correct to conclude that the water quality of theJordan River is getting better with time.


Freshwaterecosystems are essential as they deliver ecosystem services to humanpopulations such as clean water, food, spiritual and culturalsignificance, purification of waste products, among others (Schäfer,Bundschuh, Rouch, Szöcs, Peter, Pettigrove, Schulz, Nugegoda, &ampKefford, 2012). However, environmental stressors impede some of thesefunctions. The concept of using the Pollution Tolerance Index isbased on indicator organisms that scientifically reveal the pollutionlevels and quality of the environment. More specifically, theseorganisms are profoundly sensitive to alterations of water quality,and their absence or presence signifies something about the waterquality (Nowell et al., 2014). The relative increase in PTI valuesbetween 2016 and 2017 could be attributed to improved pollutioncontrol procedures into the river, reduced nonpoint pollution intothe river, or an improved self-purification mechanism by the JordanRiver. These might be the reasons for the relative improvement onaverage tolerance levels of the macroinvertebrates. Similarly, thebar graph shows a gradual increase in macroinvertebrate numbers andquality. Reduced pollution levels and control measures could haveimproved water quality which in turn, increased the number of algaeand other plants as food for these small animals.


Anotherpossible claim to this practical study is that Jordan River’s waterquality has not improved with time but has only remained constantwith fluctuating levels because of seasonal changes through the year.During fall, one can argue that gradual reduction in temperaturescould increase water quality due to reduced evaporation and reducedpollutant movement as compared to spring. However, the p-scores bysemester since 2015 to 2017 show that there has been a constantimprovement in Jordan River’s water quality through similar timesof the year. The p-score of the macroinvertebrates living in theriver in spring 2016 was 23.7 while that in spring 2017 was 24.8.There is a significant difference in p-values between these twoyears. This third graphical representation determined the potentialclaim to choose, and ignore a “no change in water quality”argument.

Inconclusion, there is an improvement in water quality at the JordanRiver. The improvements are evident as there is an increase in`tolerant` macroinvertebrates species from fall 2016 and spring 2017.Similarly, there is a steady growth in p-score values which aredetermined by quality and amount of macroinvertebrates. All thesedata representations show that the Jordan River’ quality is gettingbetter with time as more species are totaled and have better qualitythan their antecedents. It is important to note thatmacroinvertebrates are water indicator organisms that can tell thequality of water at any given time and whether set procedures aimedat mitigating pollution are functional.


Nowell,L. H., Norman, J. E., Moran, P. W., Martin, J. D., &amp Stone, W. W.(2014). Pesticide toxicity index—a tool for assessing potentialtoxicity of pesticide mixtures to freshwater aquaticorganisms.&nbspScienceof the total environment,&nbsp476,144-157.

Schäfer,R. B., Bundschuh, M., Rouch, D. A., Szöcs, E., Peter, C.,Pettigrove, V., Schulz, R., Nugegoda, D., &amp Kefford, B. J.(2012). Effects of pesticide toxicity, salinity and otherenvironmental variables on selected ecosystem functions in streamsand the relevance for ecosystem services.&nbspScienceof the Total Environment,&nbsp415,69-78.