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Eutrophication and dead zones
So you have more phosphates in this, let’s say this is a lake of some kind, so I’ll make it big. If you’re seeing this message, it means we’re having trouble loading external resources on our website. On one level, phosphates and fertilizers, nitrates seem like a good thing, it’s eutrophocation us grow more crops, but we have to be very careful with where it actually ends up.
That helps the plants grow more, which seems like a good thing, but there’s eutrophiccation side effect that happens because of this. So, right over here is a satellite image of the Caspian Sea and you can see the eutrophication. Well the issue is what happens once this algae dies.
It’s making the water less clear. So these are all the crops that we’re growing. Science Biology Ecology Biogeochemical cycles. And this is happening on a macro scale.
Intro to biogeochemical cycles. The bacteria will consume all of the oxygen in the water. And you see they are typically concentrated where we have more industrialized nations, where we have either more agriculture happening, more industrial agriculture, eutrophicaiton they might be using more fertilizer and also where you might have more runoff from cities that will have nutrients like the phosphates, that will cause this eutrophication to happen.
And this is a serious problem.
And because of that, we humans have added a lot eutrophicatioj nitrogen and especially phosphates to plants in order to grow them better, because we need the plants to live, to eutrophicatin more food. This is another one, and you’ve probably seen this, especially in places that might have sewage runoff.
Pogil Activities For Ap Biology Eutrophication Answers
And so this is where that algae is getting over-nourished. We have some pictures here. Let me show you some more. Once this algae dies, and it starts to float down, that can be food for bacteria.
But now all of a sudden, if this bacteria, because they’re able to decompose all this algae that is dying, if they’re consuming all of the oxygen, well it depletes the oxygen from the water so that the ocean animals can’t live there anymore.
But ocean animals need oxygen just like we do, and they get that oxygen, waves can crash and as the waves crash it brings in oxygen from the surface that ocean animals can use in order to live, in order to do their respiration.
And you might say okay, well why is this eutrophicarion And then we have a Dead Zone.
In order to ensure that the crops grow as much as they can, we add fertilizer to it, and a lot of that fertilizer might be nitrogen, ejtrophication might be phosphorous eutrophicatiin the form of phosphates, so we add fertilizer. So what has happened is, so let’s say that this right over here is some land. We talked about that in the nitrogen and the phosphorous cycle videos. This is potential eutrophication in this picture.
So the general idea, we’ve already talked about things like nitrogen and especially phosphorous being a rate-limiting factor for how fast plants can grow. And it’s not just fertilizers, even some detergents in the past, they have, you have sodium phosphates, which once again, can cause this eutrophication.
But now since they’re getting all of these phosphates, the algae can go crazy. Eutrophication and dead zones. And if you were to zoom in, let’s say eutrophlcation the Caspian Sea, you can see this in more detail, you can eutrophicatino see this.
Now a lot of times when we think of ocean animals, so when we think of, I’ll just draw a little fish here, and so that’s a little fish, we don’t often think about the necessity of oxygen in the water.