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Natural Selection & Evolution

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9-12 Hudson River Ecology

This unit integrates ecology and evolution by focusing on the story of Foundry Cove, where thousands of pounds of cadmium waste were dumped from the 1950s through 1970s.  Surprisingly, a species of mud worm became resistant to the chemicals within a very short period of time, illustrating the principles of evolution through a local story.  By using non-fiction articles and readings along with hands on activities and graphic organizers, students will explore the events at Foundry Cove, how the resistance developed over time, and the larger consequences for the Hudson River ecosystem.  The culminating lesson asks students to explore the evolution of resistance to PCBs in Hudson River tomcod using popular media articles.