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Freshwater Ecology

( Article Type: Explanation )

Freshwater ecology is the discipline for measuring, managing and monitoring the health of freshwater systems. It looks at water quality from a chemical perspective and then examines the organisms that are living in the water and their relationship to the water chemistry. There are many organisms that can act as indicators of the state of health of a particular water system.

The South African Scoring System (SASS) is a method of bio-assessment, which was developed as a rapid method of assessing water quality in rivers using invertebrate species, allocating scores for the presence of particular species in a body of water. Tracking these organisms over time can help to build up a profile of the manner in which the system functions and the kind of pressures that they are placed under through pollution, over-utilisation, etc.

Freshwater ecologists can make predictions and model the behaviour patterns of freshwater systems. This is valuable when planning water use and trying to predict carrying capacity and yields.