Agricultural Runoff

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Yasmin Givens Introduction The purpose of this experiment is to investigate the effects and results of agricultural runoff, as well as how varying types of fertilizer (conventional and time-released) may affect the ever-growing problem of eutrophication. If the conditions of agricultural runoff are simulated, then the algae will grow plentifully and consequently kill the other life in the water. If the different types of fertilizer are tested (conventional and time released), then the time released will be best to support and sustain the life in the simulated ecosystem. A major problem present today is agricultural runoff. As farmers have to mass produce in order to supply for the growing population today, fertilizer is essential to improve the quality and growth of the …show more content…

After the crops are subjected to over-fertilization, much of the fertilizer used is washed away by rain and turns into runoff. This runoff collects over time in a large body of water, allowing for a boom in algae growth. The dense abundance of algae covers the surface of the body of water making it impossible for sunlight to reach the plants under this covering. Consequently, the oxygen levels in the water are exhausted and the plants below the algae die, the nutrients eventually run out and the algae dies as well. In the end, all the life in the body of water dies. "Over-fertilization of soils used for agricultural and horticultural purposes is a growing environmental concern" (U Mass Amherst). Eutrophication is the increased availability of one or more limiting growth factors needed for photosynthesis, such as sunlight, carbon dioxide, and nutrient fertilizers, that leads to excessive plant and algae growth (Schindler,2006). Eutrophication can lead to the creation of dense algae that reduce the clarity and quality of the water as well as limit light penetration, leading to the reduced growth and eventual death of plants in a specific body of water

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