Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Oceans, Algae, and the Other Pollution Problem
Olivia Cocking
Britannia Secondary
Floor Location : M 185 V

"Out of Sight, Out of Mind" had an experimentation goal to analyze the effects of nutrient quantities on the growth and development of phytoplankton, specifically algae.rnTo structure this experiment, I developed several research questions, as well as a hypothesis predicting an increase in algal growth in the presence of nitrogen and iron, with possible negative connotations for marine ecosystems.rnThe experimental procedure involved two sets of four seawater samples, each containing an algae sample. rnOne sample in each set acted as the control group, to measure algal growth without added mineral compounds. The other three samples in each set formed the experimental group, one with added ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3); one with added iron chelate, a common plant fertilizer; and the last sample with both ammonium nitrate and iron chelate added. rnThese samples were allowed to grow for three weeks, each set in an environment with identical light intensities and patterns. After the three weeks, the density of cells present in each sample was measured using a spectrophotometer. Results collected were analyzed, indicating the possible influence of a variety of unpredicted factors. These results provided support for my hypothesis, however, a re-phrasing of this hypothesis would increase its accuracy. Also explored were the implications of nitrogen and iron compounds on marine ecosystems, in particular, the concepts of nitrogen pollution and ocean fertilization.rnSeveral adjustments would increase the accuracy of results obtained in the experiment and draw deeper conclusions about the place of these minerals in a real world setting. rnThe experimentation conducted increased my knowledge of marine ecosystems and the role nutrients play in maintaining these ecosystems, as well as how human activities alter the way in which these nutrients function.rnrn