The Effect of the Presence of Eutrophication on the Water Quality of the Cove River

Student(s):Santorini Rivera and Brenda Calderon
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Teacher:
Report Type(s):Standard Research Report
Date Submitted:05/10/2012

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Eutrophication is excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life (Nastopoulos). "The excessive amount of nutrients favors the growth of algae [also known as phytoplankton]" leading to algal blooms which have many adverse effects on the water (Vijayvergia).
Slow moving rivers, such as the Cove River, are most susceptible to algal blooms, great increases of phytoplankton in a water body ("Algal"). Phosphate or nitrate compounds can cause algal bloom, which, in turn, causes dissolved oxygen depletion as large numbers of dead algae decay ("Water").
"The excessive amount of nutrients in the water bodies along with higher temperature favors the growth of algae and aquatic weeds" (Vijayvergia). More than a 100ppm measure of TDS, total dissolved solids, indicates eutrophication (Vijayvergia). However, as a substitution for the measure of TDS in this experiment conductivity of the water which has a direct relation to TDS will be measured. A conductivity from 200-2000 microSiemens/cm indicates no eutrophication, while any measure above that does. pH can increase the solubility of phosphates which contributes to the excessive nutrients that cause the algal bloom (Vijayvergia). Therefore, in healthy water the pH is near 7, in a eutrophic river the pH can be expected to be more acidic, so below 7pH. Also high water temperatures favor algal blooms.
The dissolved oxygen (DO) in the river water is an important factor to measure because low concentrations of dissolved oxygen indicate algal blooms which result in DO depletions (Vijayvergia). Nitrates and phosphate levels are also important in eutrophication research. If their concentrations surpass the regular concentrations they are supposed to have, 1ppm to 4ppm for nitrates and .04ppm to .2ppm for phosphates, then this is a direct indication of eutrophication, since phosphorus along with nitrogen cause explosive growth of algal species that lead to eutrophication ("Methods").


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