Humanity’s Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems: A Study of the Effects of Anthropogenic Pollutants on Dissolved Oxygen in Water

Noah Lester, Ashton Lofquist, Lauren Lacy, Britann McGahey, Jay Walton


Anthropogenic pollutants can have an effect on the bodies of water in which they are introduced, namely eutrophication. Eutrophication is the alteration of the environment with the addition of nutrients from runoff. In our study, we investigated the effects of a 5% fertilizer solution and 5% detergent solution on the dissolved oxygen of water samples taken from the Dolese Outlet in northwest Oklahoma City. Our hypothesis was that the increased availability of nutrients from the addition of pollutants would cause higher algal productivity, resulting in higher levels of dissolved oxygen in comparison to the control. We took data immediately after we introduced each pollutant to the solution, and took data again one week after the introduction for comparison. We found that, contrary to our hypothesis, the addition of pollutants led to a general decrease in dissolved oxygen in comparison to the control. Since autotrophs are the basis of the aquatic ecosystem’s food web, any changes, both positive and negative, to the autotrophic food level will have a direct impact on the health of the aquatic food web.

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