The Influence of Bird Population on the Cell Density in Varying Water Sources

Mackenzie Allen, Kendall Burdge, Laura Behrens, Jace Colvin, Cody Barnes


In this observational study, we compared the cell density of algae in differing water sources to the population of birds visible at the month of October in order to determine if there is a correlation between the two. Based on previous data showing that bird excrement contains nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen (Gere 1992, Manny et al. 1994, Scherer et al. 1995), we expected that water sources with a higher population diversity of birds would have a higher cell density of algae overall. Using the eBird website, we were able to look at what birds were seen in the given month of October. We calculated average cell density by taking readings from each water source, and counting individual cells using a hemocytometer and then dividing by the volume of the smallest square of the hemocytometer. We discovered that on average, the greater the number of bird species present, there is a higher cell density present as well, which supported our hypothesis. 

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