This unit introduces students to the ecosystem concept using the Hudson River ecosystem. Students learn about both the biotic and physical history of the Hudson River ecosystem, including its geology, tides, and watershed. This unit's focus is on the characteristics and historical drivers that primarily shaped the Hudson River ecosystem before European settlement. Changes after European settlement are explored in the following unit "The Hudson Valley: A Social-Ecological System."
Natural History of the Hudson River
Introduction to the Hudson: Journey down the river
Students will know the components of the Hudson River ecosystem and be able to give several examples of ways that living and non-living things interact in the Hudson River.
Tides in the Hudson
Students will know how tides affect the Hudson River and be able to create a graph showing a two-day pattern of tides in the river.
Students will know how water flows around their school and will be able to explain how permeability and pollution within a watershed affect water quality.
Hudson Valley Geology
Students will identify Hudson Valley rocks and be able to explain why the rocks came to be as they are in each place.
Glacial Deposition & Groundwater
Students will interpret geological maps, identify the permeability rates in different glacial deposits, and be able to infer which local townships can best benefit from residential wells.
Aquatic Ecosystem Exploration
Students will know how an aquatic ecosystem works and be able to collect representative organisms, identify the organism and its trophic level, and create a food web of a local aquatic ecosystem.
How much water is in that river?
Students will know how to estimate flow in a river or stream, and be able to explain how how Hudson River flow is expected to change as predicted by global climate change models.
Paleoclimate of the Hudson Valley -- Historic plant communities
Students will know how the climate of the Hudson Valley has changed over the last glaciation and be able to explain these changes.