During our second mobility in Poland which took place on 27 May – 1 June 2018 we conducted different educational workshops devoted to the problems of rivers and water pollution. During field activities, high school students from Poland, Croatia and Italy were conducting research on the Koszarawa River in Beskid Żywiecki mountains.
Bioediversity of the montane stream and its conditions
The aim of the classes was to discover biodiversity on each noticeable level – from fungi and mosses, through animals and plants, up to all ecosystems.
Students had the opportunity to experience organisms occurring in the Carpathian river valley, get knowledge concerning their adaptations to existence in this environment. They was also introduced into basic field methods use in the ecological, vegetation and zoological studies. The most important element of the course was to explain where biodiversity comes from, how to maintain it and what are its greatest threats.
Conducting classes: Msc. Magdalena Zarzycka, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection. University of Silesia
Primary succession of gravel bars
Mountain rivers in the upper parts are characterized by a predominance of erosion over accumulation. This is conditioned by the occurrence of strong disturbances, related both to the regular erosive activity of the river and irregular floods, often significantly changing the habitat conditions. As a result, it gives the possibility of studying the gravelous mountain streams occupied by various types of vegetation – from the almost plant-free initial stage, through reed communities, to riverside forests. Different types of vegetation associated with alluvial forests represent successive stages of gravel succession exposed as the result of river erosive activity. Usually, succession is studied on permanent plots for many years, and on rivers such as Koszarawa it can be observed different succession stages at the same time.
During the course participants identified successive stages of gravel bars. At individual gravel bars, research areas were determined and floristic lists were carried out. As a result, participants could follow which species are the first to inhabit the initial riverside habitats and how the species composition changes over the succession, and which plant characteristics are particularly important during the settlement of the ecosystems in question.
Conducting classes: Ph.D. Wojciech Zarzycki , Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection. University of Silesia
Determination of the water purity class using biological indicators
Determination of biological indicators consists in the identification of benthic macroinvertebrates found in the river’s current. Their occurrence and abundance are closely related to the quality of flowing water.
The students’ task was not only to identify the benthic macroorganisms but also to determine their numbers, calculate the BMWP-PL biotic index and compare the obtained results with the normative values contained in the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment to determine the water quality class
The students’ task will be not only to identify benthic macro organisms but also to determine their numbers, calculate the BMWP-PL biotic index and compare the obtained results with normative values included in the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment in order to determine the water quality class. Samples were collected in two places on Koszarawa River in Beskid Żywiecki mountains : at the bridge in Kiełbasów, on the dam near the amphitheater in Żywiec.
Conducting classes: MSc in environmental protection and biology Katarzyna Kula – Gawron,
Determination of chemical indicators of water purity and interpretation of obtained results
The presence of specific chemical compounds in water is closely related with what is happening in the environment surrounding the water reservoir. It can testify
on occurrence of living or industrial pollution, it may be related to the chemical composition of the river bottom or agricultural operations carried out in the surrounding fields.
During the class students marked specific chemical indicators of water purity in samples taken in the Koszarawa River in two places – at the bridge in Kiełbasów, on the dam near the amphitheater in Żywiec, like:
- oxygen content – oxygen probe
- susceptibility to oxidation – titration method
- pH – using a conductivity meter
- determination of water hardness
• scalcium content – with the EDTA solution
• magnesium content – with the EDTA solution
- iron content – by means of a spectrophotometer
- phosphate content – using a photometer
- chloride content – the Mohr method
- conductivity – using a conductivity meter
- the turbidity method – visual
- nitrates, hydrogen sulphide – photometer
Conducting classes: MSc in chemistry Monika Bąk
HAPPENING – PLAITS FOR RIVERS
May 30 we did a happening called Plaits for River in the center of Bielsko-Biała town to attracting the attention of our project to local residents and media. Youth presented slogan about the project “Written on Water” and colorful plaits which they plaited with colorful strands of material symbolizing our rivers. Students talked about the idea of our project and our common concern for clean and living rivers in Europe.
Information in local media: