The advantages of bio-indicators outdo their disadvantages. Understanding what bio-indicators are and how they work is necessary as it will help in understanding their advantages and disadvantages.
Bio-indicators convey information on changes in the environment through chemical, physiological and behavioral changes. It would be difficult for scientists to perform their experiments without proper and timely conveyance of environmental information. Environmentalists deduce information by studying a number of things. They study the behavior of the organism, population, morphological structure, content of compounds and the metabolic processes of the organism (Paoletti, 2012). There are five different types of indicators. Plant indicators are commonly used to provide information on changes in the environment. Scientists can observe the absence or presence of certain plants in the environment and derive clues from this. Plant indicators include leaves, mosses, lichens, fungi, tree barks and rings around trees.
Animals are also used as bio-indicators. A decrease or increase in the population of animals within an environment can be used to indicate alterations in the ecosystem. Scientists also analyze changes in the environment by monitoring the number of toxins in animals, their deformities and behavior (Borowski, 2005). Microorganisms are bio-indicators used to monitor terrestrial or aquatic environments. They are found in plenty, which makes it easier to test them. A large number of microorganisms release trauma proteins when exposed to contaminants such as benzene and cadmium. Industries that mine oil or gas rely on microbial bio-indicators to identify potential areas that can produce oil. Another bio-indicator is microalgae. They are common and found in abundance (Singh, 2014). They are used to indicate the quality of water. Macroinvertebrate is also used to indicate the quality of water.