Algal Growth in an Environment That Contains Increased Levels of Phosphorus

Sydney Campman, Averi Bennett, Katie Boston, Greg Winkler


In recent years, eutrophication has become an issue because there has been an increase in fertilizers and fossil fuel emissions (Conley et al. 2009). Phosphorus and nitrogen are key components in those fertilizers as well as nutrients used in photosynthesis (Crotty et al. 2015). Our group tested four different samples that contained different levels of phosphorus, and measured the chlorophyll content of each to determine algal growth. Our group hypothesized that increase phosphorus levels would increase algae growth because phosphorus is a key nutrient used in photosynthesis. Our results showed a significant increase in algae growth with 1 mL of sodium phosphate added, a small increase with 5 mL added and surprisingly, a drastic decrease with 10 mL added. Our hypothesis was supported to an extent. We predict that the significant decrease of the 10 mL sample was due to eutrophication. 

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