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Eutrophication

Utilize microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to solve the massive fish kill mystery. Investigate how dissolved nitrogen levels and an algal bloom are linked to the fish population.

About This Simulation

In this lab you act as an environmental investigator whose mission is to solve the massive fish kill mystery. In the Marine Biology Lab you have already discovered that the fish were dying of suffocation, but you want to know what caused the low dissolved oxygen levels. In this lab you will have to use microscopy to analyze the biological matter in the water, and spectrophotometry to study dissolved nitrogen levels. This will give you the data you need to conclude your investigation.

In the Marine Biology Lab you’ve found that the low oxygen in the water was causing the suffocation of the fish. Looking for more data you’ll analyze the water sample using the microscope. In this way you can study the biological matter in the water. Have the algae in the water something to do with the low oxygen levels?

You will learn about the nitrogen cycle and how human activity can influence it. You will analyze nitrogen content in the water sample using spectrophotometry. An interactive map will help you to determine the source of excessive nitrogen run-off that caused the harmful algal bloom. Will you be able to prevent the massive fish kill?

Screenshots

Collaborators

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the nitrogen cycle and its importance for living beings
  • Learning the concept of eutrophication and harmful algal bloom, and the impact that it has on the ecosystem
  • Analyzing dissolved nitrogen levels in the water sample
  • Understanding the importance of sampling from different locations to get representative data

Techniques

  • Sampling
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Fish necropsy/dissection

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