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.

Natural Selection & Evolution


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. 

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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