Too much of a good thing: Extreme proportions of nitrogen and phosphorus affect the health of algae

Micah Arthaud, Preston Bluett, Darci DeVous, Sarah Gardner


Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential components of algal organisms, but what happens when algae are surrounded with an abnormally high concentration of the two elements? Our investigation attempts to answer this question. Much research has covered how increasing nitrogen and phosphorus content of a system can increase algal growth. However, we found few studies that explain how algae react to extremely high concentrations of the elements. We conducted an experiment in which we measured the change in cell concentration of algae in samples of lake water containing different concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus. The results of our experiment could help predict how algae would survive in such conditions. 

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