AP Environmental Science Students Examine Local Macroinvertebrates

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RAHWAY — The shoreline of Rahway’s Lake Milton recently was the destination of Rahway High School teacher Jessica Merrill’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science class. Students spent an entire day collecting macroinvertebrates from the shoreline and small creeks behind the lake.

Macroinvertebrates are small animals without a backbone, visible without magnification; examples are crayfish, leeches, and snails. The presence of indicator species is an inexpensive and simple method to enable scientists to evaluate the health of an ecosystem. Therefore, it was important for students to find, count, and classify the various invertebrates. From their data collection, they were able to calculate the biodiversity of the area.


Teacher Jessica Merrill (on right) explains about calculation of biodiversity to student Madison Sullivan-Hennessey during the AP Environmental Science field trip to Rahway’s Milton Lake. (Photo courtesy of Rahway High School)


Student Liam Mark uses indicator paper to determine the pH of Milton Lake. (Photo courtesy of Rahway High School)


Madison Sullivan-Hennessey and Brandon  Krutzler screen mud from the shore of the lake for macroinvertebrates. (Photo courtesy of Rahway High School)


Brianna Nelson (left), Madison Sullivan-Hennessey, Alayah Reddock, and Camilla Albuquerque use tweezers to extract macroinvertebrates from the mud from the creeks and shoreline. (Photo courtesy of Rahway High School)

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