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Yes, of course. Animals are often more finely-tuned to changes in an environment than humans. Once upon a time, canaries were taken into coal mines to detect the presence of dangerous gases. These birds are very sensitive to changes in air quality, so the miners could judge whether the air was safe to breathe by observing its effects on the canaries.

In a similar manner, aquatic macroinvertebrates have different sensitivities to water pollution. Both those macroinvertebrates that are sensitive to and those tolerant of pollution can live in a stream with good water quality. With increased pollution, however, fewer sensitive creatures will be found. If the water quality is very poor, only those macroinvertebrates that are tolerant of pollution will survive.

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Cast of characters - Maya Crowbes, Dr. A Beadle, Gray Fischer, Viola DeRama
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Q: What type of bird did miners use to detect changes in air quality?

GLOSSARY: tolerant—accepting of the presence of something