In just two years time, the World will have lost two-thirds of all wild animals according to The Living Planet Index.
As we begin to understand that pesticides and fungicides are contaminating pollen and killing bees and other insects in numbers which can't be calculated, so too are fertilizers from agriculture and gardens causing algal blooms which are killing fish and marine life also in numbers which can't be calculated yearly in the West.
On Friday Maryland reached a 10-year high in flesh-eating bacteria infections in the Chesapeake Bay so far this summer caused by an algae bloom, full story here
Emma Howard, with help from Bernie Carhart, and Kati Bain , see below, have written and researched a biology project on algal blooms and kindly shared the results with The Big Wobble.
Introduction and Background
Collecting and Setting Up the Pond/Lake Water Samples
- Collect 2 L of pond water from a local pond using the 4-L plastic container. Have an adult come along to help.
- Collect water that appears relatively clear, without sediment or large amounts of algae.
- Record the appearance of the pond water in your lab notebook.
- Label six Styrofoam cups
- Using your graduated cylinder, place 400 mL of pond water into the cup labeled 1X.
- Place 200 mL of pond water into the remaining cups.
- Now dissolve 15 mL (1 tablespoon) of fertilizer in 4 liters of distilled water in your second plastic container. Call this the 10X (ten times concentrated) fertilizer solution.
Performing a Dilution Series
- Pour 40 mL of the 10X fertilizer solution into the 400 mL of pond water in the cup labeled 1X. Mix the contents in the cup with a clean plastic spoon.
- Transfer 200 mL from the cup labeled 1X to the cup labeled 0.5X. Mix the contents of the 0.5X cup with a clean plastic spoon.
- Transfer 200 mL from the cup labeled 0.5X to the cup labeled 0.25X. Mix the contents of the 0.25X cup with a clean plastic spoon.
- Transfer 200 mL from the cup labeled 0.25X to the cup labeled 0.125X. Mix the contents of the 0.125X cup with a clean plastic spoon.
- Transfer 200 mL from the cup labeled 0.125X to the cup labeled 0.06X. Mix the contents of the 0.06X cup with a clean plastic spoon.
- Transfer 200 mL from the cup labeled 0.06X to a sink or other disposal area.
- The remaining "control" cup should not have any fertilizer.
Observing the Growth of the Algae
- Place the algae cultures in a spot indoors that is well-lit during daylight hours.