Hudson River Ecology

How does the Hudson River ecosystem respond to different types of changes over time? Are these changes permanent, and how will the ecosystem respond? Our curriculum addresses these questions through modules which combine unique and engaging Hudson River data collected by the Cary Institute and other scientists, investigations, readings, and visualizations.

Invasive Species

Grades: 
9-12
Topic(s): 
Water
Biodiversity
Nutrients & Energy
Nature of Science

Invasive species pose a serious risk to ecosystem health and stability around the world and locally. Why should we be concerned about invasive species? How do they change local plant and animal communities? How do they change the chemistry of a water body like the Hudson River?   Students will learn how and why invasive species have such large ecosystem impacts and how they have changed the Hudson River. This unit includes a more in-depth investigation of three species: zebra mussels, water chestnut, and common reed.  As students will discover, all of these introduced species have changed the ecosystems around us in potentially positive and negative ways.  The concluding research report provides an opportunity for students to explore other local invasive species.

  • Introduction to Invasive Species

    Students will know why we call some species invasive and be able to discuss several traits that are common among many invasive species and be able to explain the effects of at least one invasive sp

  • Hudson River Food Webs

    Students will know how an invasive species has changed the Hudson River food web and be able to explain the impact of the zebra mussel on the food web over time.

  • Invasive Plant Survey

    Students will investigate whether there are more native or invasive plants and how herbivory affects both types of plants in their schoolyard.   

  • How Does Water Chestnut Impact the Hudson River?

    Students will understand how the invasive water chestnut plant impacts the Hudson River differently from the native water celery plant and be able to explain these impacts based on a series of grap

  • Aquatic Plant Invasion: Simulation

    Students will know the relationship between light and dissolved oxygen and be able to predict what will happen when a plant does not receive enough light.

  • Impacts of Common Reed & its management

    Students will know that removing an invasive plant can have a variety of impacts and be able to explain some of these impacts using evidence.

  • Invasive Species Independent Research Report

    Students will know that aquatic communities change composition based on vegetation types and be able to explain the differences.

  • Invasives and Macroinvertebrates

    Students will know that aquatic communities change composition based on vegetation types and be able to explain the differences.

  • Disturbance: Invasive Mollusk Impacts

    Students will know how to design an experiment to test how a pond ecosystem changes over time due to an invasive mollusk and be able to develop a testable hypothesis, create the experimental set-up

  • Water Chestnut & Dissolved Oxygen

    Students will know how a water chestnut bed impacts dissolved oxygen levels across space and through time and will be able to use graphs to explain these changes.

  • Day 1: Introduction to Zebra Mussels

    Students will know what lives in the Hudson River, and will be able to create a food web drawing to represent the organisms living in the river.

  • Day 2: Exploring Population Change due to Zebra Mussels

    Students will know how the zebra mussel invasion affected the food web of the Hudson River and be able to explain at least two connections within the food web that were affected using evidence from

  • Day 3: Exploring Abiotic Changes due to Zebra Mussels

    Students will know how the zebra mussel has changed the Hudson River ecosystem and be able to explain how a biotic change affects the abiotic conditions in the Hudson River.

  • Day 4: Graphing and interpreting zebra mussel data

    Students will know how the zebra mussel invasion has changed the Hudson River and be able to use graphed data to explain the history of these changes. 

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