Water and the Environment Laboratory

Water and the Environment Laboratory - Water and the...

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Water and the Environment Laboratory ISP217L Exercise 5 Introduction In looking at aquatic ecosystems and what factors promote and pollute life within them, we must observe the nutrients that restrict growth. Phosphorus is the most common limiting nutrient in aquatic environments, and in this exploration we attempt to identify the effects of the element on different samples of water containing different forms of life. Limiting nutrients such as inhibit the growth of life to a certain balance of population. When large amounts of phosphorus are introduced into an ecosystem the life in that system, in particular the algae of that system, undergo a dramatic increase in population known as an ‘algae bloom’. This spike in the levels of that limiting nutrient is known as eutrophication. The algae blooms that come with eutrophication greatly reduce water clarity, often times making the water almost opaque. This decrease in water clarity reduces the photic zone to almost nothing, killing all other plant life within the body of water. The algae then use up all the oxygen in the body of water, leaving the fish with no oxygen to breathe. Algae blooms destroy entire aquatic ecosystems. In evaluating the effects of these limiting nutrients on aquatic ecosystems we can come to understand the effects of pollution on our waters. For the control test I hypothesize that the phosphorus levels will stay constant. For the phytoplankton only test I predict a sizeable decrease in phosphorus levels. In the phytoplankton and zooplankton test I hypothesize a drastic decrease in phosphorus levels. Methods
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This lab report was uploaded on 04/12/2008 for the course ISP 217 Lab taught by Professor Peters during the Fall '07 term at Michigan State University.

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Water and the Environment Laboratory - Water and the...

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