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Eutrophication

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If one were to visit the U.S. Geological Survey website and searched for a definition of the word Eutrophication, they would see several definitions by various people or organization. Regardless of how it is stated it comes down to is a process that occurs in a body of water becomes over inundated with nutrients such as phosphates or nitrates (U.S. Geological Survey, 2011) In an unspoiled or pristine aquatic ecosystem there is the natural and balanced production of plants at a steady pace. New plants will biomass at a steady rate which is sustained by the nitrogen and phosphorus released as byproducts by microbial and animal metabolisms. Many times the balance of nitrogen and phosphorus is disrupted and changed due to human activity. With the increase of N and P comes the unnaturally high rate of plant production and organic matter (Cloern, Krantz, & Hogan, 2010).
Many times this will occur due to discharges of untreated sewage, sewage treatment plants, or runoff of fertilizers from farm or lawns. Other times it may be due to a natural occurrence. Nutrients can come from many sources such as dead leaves, fish food, fish waste, dead algae and other plants. Under the normal circumstance a well-balanced pond or lake has enough oxygen to breakdown the organic materials and they decompose (Natural Environmental Systems, LLC, 2011). However, when the water becomes enriched with nutrients it promotes the growth of algae due the fact that it grows faster than larger vascular plants. With the over stimulation of growth come interrelated biological and chemical responses. These changes bring about degraded water quality, threaten human health and threaten the sustainability of coastal areas. As the alga grows it form aggregates which sink and stimulates bacterial growth which in turn consumes the oxygen. The surface plant and alga eventually form what is known as a...

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