Exploring the Effects of Different Nutrients on Algae Abundance

Samantha Whisnant, Hunter Tolliver, Erin Stoll, Payton Walters, Jillian Wormington


Algae is a major component of the first trophic level and is vital for many species of aquatic life because it provides food and shelter. Algae uses the process of photosynthesis which requires light and essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. We hypothesize adding commercial fertilizer to our water samples will affect algae growth; this is especially true in the sample from the outlet because it’s likely the algae from the outlet would be exposed to more fertilizer runoff than algae from the main. We used 35 mL samples of water from Dolese Lake in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and added 0.35 mL of a nutrient (sodium phosphate, urea, or fertilizer) to each sample. We measured the results using a spectrometer. All our samples showed a decrease in algae growth, most likely due to the length of our trial.

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