Aquatics Sample Test

Aquatics Online Study Guide

Sample Test

The test questions below a sample of the type used at the NJ Envirothon. In addition, the National Envirothon website has a some sample Aquatics questions.

 The test is given in two timed segments. One is written and the other is hands-on. In the actual hands-on test the students are asked to identify fish and other specimens.

Note: You will have to print this page or write your answers on a paper to compare with the answer key, linked at the bottom of the page.

Written Sample Test

  1. True or False – While providing many other benefits, riparian zones do not function as a temperature regulator along aquatic ecosystems.

  2. Which of the following watersheds would you expect to find elevated levels of coliform bacteria? _________________________

    1. Watershed “A” – is densely populated, tall skyscrapers dominate the landscape, has little wildlife and domestic animals, and has many factories producing plastics and metal alloys.
    2. Watershed “B” – is sparsely populated, farms and ranches dominate the landscape, wildlife flourishes and domesticated animals are commonplace.
  3. The concave or convex upper surface of a column of liquid which creates the curvature caused by surface tension is called the:

    1. Meniscus
    2. Boiling Point
    3. Cohesion
    4. Evaporation
  4. True or False – The Stonefly, Mayfly and Caddis Fly are all pollution sensitive organisms that are intolerant of poor water quality.

  5. The Clean Water Act of 1972

    1. Was passed by the United States Federal Government that forms the basis today for water quality protection for surface water in streams, rivers, and lakes as well as for groundwater.
    2. Protects animal and plant species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have designated as threatened or endangered.
    3. Enables dredging in water bodies that sedimentation and erosion occur.
    4. Focuses on increasing the funding of water treatment plants.

6 -10. Wetland Matching

Use the chart below to match the characteristics that best describe the following types of wetland. Write the appropriate letter in the blank. (1 point each)

  1. Calcium rich fen    _____
  2. Hardwood swamp  _____
  3. Salt marsh            _____
  4. Cranberry bog       _____
  5. Marsh                   _____
Choice Water Chemistry Vegetative Community Water Regime System Type
A Freshwater, variable pH and nutrients Pin Oak, Cyprus, Red Maple, Seasonally flooded Palustrine Forested Wetland
B Nutrient rich Cattails, Sweet flag, Wild Rice, Soft stemmed bulrush Semi-permanently flooded or Seasonally flooded Palustrine Emergent Wetland
C Brackish or saline high pH Switchgrass Spartina, Halophytes Regularly or Irregularly flooded Estuarine Emergent Wetland
D Mineral rich, higher pH than other freshwater systems Buck bean, Three-way Sedge, Cotton-grass Saturated Palustrine Emergent Wetland
E Low pH, nutrient poor Sphagnum moss, Sheep laurel, Labrador Tea Saturated Palustrine Scrub Shrub Wetland
  1. Oxygen in a lake is a product of

    1. photosynthesis
    2. wind and wave action
    3. the atmosphere
    4. A & B
    5. All the above
  2. True or False – Ground water drawn at the Jersey shore is always saline.

  3. True or False – In the Eastern US where rainfall is plentiful most rivers are “gaining streams” or those whose flow is primarily supported by ground water.

  4. What contributes almost NO fecal coliform to surface waters in New Jersey?

    1. Geese and deer
    2. Failed septic systems
    3. Wastewater treatment plants
    4. Pet Waste
  5. Impervious areas should be minimized as they have a significant impact on

    1. Water quality
    2. Invasive species
    3. Stream channel shape
    4. a and c
    5. a and b
  6. Benthic macroinvertebrates (primarily insects) are used as indicators for the bioassessment of streams because they maintain their position in the stream. A biologically impaired surface water from poor water quality is reflected by the:

    1. Absence of pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates, excessive dominance by certain macroinvertebrates, low overall macroinvertebrate richness, and perceptible shifts in community structure.
    2. Presence of pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates, no dominance by certain macroinvertebrates, high overall macroinvertebrate richness, and perceptible shifts in community structure.
    3. Absence of pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates, no dominance by certain macroinvertebrates, high overall macroinvertebrate richness, and no shifts in community structure.
    4. Presence of pollution sensitive macroinvertebrates, excessive dominance by certain macroinvertebrates, low overall macroinvertebrate richness, and no shifts in community structure.

Hands-on Sample Test

Fish and insect specimens are identified and questions are asked about these. Specimens may be photos, frozen, fresh on-ice, or preserved. Students may be asked to use an identification key to identify aquatic insects. Some examples are given below.

Using the macroinvertebrate samples and key provided answer question 6.

1. Which two are macroinvertebrates that indicate poor water quality (pollution tolerant)? _____________________________________________________

Students will be provided with macroinvertebrate specimens and a key in order to answer this question.

2. Using Exhibit 1 below, which of the watershed delineations on the topographic maps most accurately reflects the drainage area to Lake Sonoma _______________ ( A or B)

Exhibit 1: for questions 2 and 3

Topography Map A

Topography Map B
Topographic A for exhibit 1 Topographic B for exhibit 1

3. Using exhibit 1 above, the lines (contour intervals) on the mapa above indicate an elevation change of ________ feet.

4-8. Using the diagram below correctly label the parts

Diagram of fish

9. What is the relationship between the stream and the unconfined aquifer in figure 2?

  1. water is moving from the stream into the aquifer
  2. water is moving from the aquifer into the stream
  3. there is no relationship between the stream and the unconfined aquifer
  4. None of these answers are possible based upon information provided

Figure 2


Answer Key

For more information contact your local Soil Conservation District Office or Richard Belcher, NJ Envirothon Coordinator Phone: (609) 292-5540,  Fax: (609) 633-7229.