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The%20Nature%20of%20Nitrates%20and%20Phosphates[1] - The...

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The Nature of Nitrate and Phosphate Research Questions: 1) How does the amount of nitrate in an area affect the diversity of plant populations in Vulture Rock Creek? 2) How does the amount of phosphate in an area affect the diversity of plant populations in Vulture Rock Creek? Background Information: Nitrate tests are used to measure the concentration of nitrate ions in a water sample. The presence of nitrate is important, as they are a source of necessary nitrogen for plants and animals to synthesize amino acids and proteins. This is done by the nitrogen cycle, or a conversion of nitrogen gas into useable forms for plants and animals. Some examples of these include fertilizers, plant and animal decompositions, and animal waste. When bodies of water contain high nitrate concentrations, it can lead to eutrophicatrion, or the excessive growth of aquatic plants and algae. (Johnson, On the other hand, phosphorous is also an essential nutrient for aquatic plants and algae, but only a very small amount is needed. Like nitrate, if there is a high concentration of phosphate, it can also lead to eutrophication. While it increases plant and algae growth, it can be considered a pollutant, as it lowers the dissolved oxygen levels and makes the water uninhabitable for aquatic organisms. Orthophosphates, which will be tested in this lab, are inorganic forms of phosphates and used heavily in fertilizers. They are introduced into water through runoff. (Johnson, Holman, & Holmquist, 2000) There are three football fields and one baseball field that are regularly fertilized. This could be a possible source of NO 3 - or PO 4 -3 in Vulture Rock Creek that runs very close to these four fields. Also, the presence of a retention pond located next to the creek could alter the amount of NO 3 - or PO 4 -3 . (Pirkle, 2009) Plant diversity is essential to most terrestrial ecosystems. Other heterotrophic organisms depend on plants as a source of energy, mainly through food. Humans use plants for various applications from food to fuel to medicine. Plants are also fundamental and significant in the management of an ecosystem. They service the protection of watersheds, moderate climate, stabilize slopes, and improve soil quality. Thus, plant diversity and conservation is important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. (Campbell & Reece, 2005) Nitrate and phosphate concentrations can indicate plant diversity. Nitrogen is one of the most frequently occurring elements in living things next to hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Phophorus are one of the other elements that is also needed by living organisms. It is used in mainly in the chemical compostion of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a chemical essential to producing cellular energy. (Campbell & Reece, 2005)
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Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to obtain water samples from various locations on Vulture Rock Creek and test the water for the presence of nitrate and phosphate. Five tests will be conducted for each of the 5 sample sites in order to create a broad range of
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The%20Nature%20of%20Nitrates%20and%20Phosphates[1] - The...

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