Eutrophication
Tony Smith, Edward Zhang
A.R. MacNeill Secondary
Floor Location : M 065 V

This science fair topic is about eutrophication and testing to see which nutrients are most prevalent in contributing to the growth of algae, and the impacts it has on the world’s oceans and other aquatic ecosystems. As of now, it is unknown what is the relation between algal growth and the overall health of aquatic environments in terms of levels of dissolved oxygen. Many studies have been conducted exploring how nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen accelerates the growth of algae. However, previous research has failed to address how the application of fertilizers on local farms contributes to eutrophication and hypoxic zones, an increasingly detrimental phenomenon in our world’s freshwater and saltwater ecosystems. We believe that the direct application of fertilizer with high concentrations of nutrients will lead to the most algal growth and least amounts of dissolved oxygen to be present in the pond water sample. To test our hypothesis, we set up an experiment that introduced different sources of nutrients to controlled beaker environments, and left them under a grow light for two weeks to observe algal growth and test for dissolved oxygen levels. The nutrients we used included two different kinds of fertilizers, runoff liquid from a fertilized potted plant, dishwasher detergent, and soil from the fertilized fields of local farms. Currently, our experiment is in a state of active research, but based on our current observations, both of the beaker environments with the fertilizers show visible algal growth. The water in each of these beakers are much more murky then before, which is a clear indication of eutrophication. Although this experiment will only show the consequences of eutrophication on a small scale, it is important to be aware of the global occurrences of eutrophication and its serious impacts on both humans and other organisms.