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EUTROPHICATION

TOPIC 11
EUTROPHICATION
• Cultural or anthropogenic "eutrophication" is water
pollution caused by excessive plant nutrients.
• Eutrophication, strictly speaking, means an increase in
chemical nutrients -- typically compounds containing
nitrogen or phosphorus -- in an ecosystem
• The term is however often used to mean the resultant
increase in the ecosystem's primary productivity. This
means excessive plant growth and decay.
• Further impacts, include lack of oxygen and severe
reductions in water quality and in fish and other animal
populations.
• With severe eutrophication, normal food web and
ecosystem processes are disrupted, creating a ‘dead
zone’ where no animal life can be sustained.
EUTROPHICATION
• Most of the eutrophication occurring today is
human-caused.
• Natural eutrophication also takes place, but it is
insignificant by comparison. Forest fires and
fallout from volcanic eruptions are natural events
that cause eutrophication.
• Phosphorus is often regarded as the main
culprit in cases of eutrophication in lakes.
• Phosphorus is an essential element for life. It is
a plant nutrient needed for growth, and a
fundamental element in the metabolic reactions
of plants and animals.
EUTROPHICATION
• Plant growth is limited by the amount of phosphorus
available. In most waters, phosphorus functions as a
"growth-limiting" factor because it is usually present in
very low concentrations.
• The natural scarcity of phosphorus can be explained by
its attraction to organic matter and soil particles.
• Any unattached or “free" phosphorus, in the form of
inorganic phosphates, is rapidly taken up by algae and
larger aquatic plants. Because algae only require small
amounts of phosphorus to live, excess phosphorus
causes extensive algal growth called "blooms."
• Algal blooms are a classic symptom of cultural
eutrophication.
EUTROPHICATION
EUTROPHICATION
EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES
EUTROPHICATION
EUTROPHICATION

Algal blooms fill much of the Baltic Sea, 2005.


ALGAE
• Cyanobacteria, formerly called "blue-green algae", are
simple, life-forms closely related to bacteria. Although
they are similar to algae, they are not true algae.
Cyanobacteria are different from other algae as they are
prokaryotes (organisms characterized by the absence of
a distinct, membrane-bound nucleus or membrane-
bound organelles, and by DNA that is not organized into
chromosomes).
• All algae are eukaryotes (organisms whose cell possess
a definite nucleus enclosed by a membrane and
organelles enclosed by membranes).
ALGAE
• Algae grow in colonies and are commonly
found floating in ponds, lakes, and oceans.
• Populations of algae fluctuate with the
availability of nutrients, and a sudden
increase in nutrients often results in a
profusion of algae known as algal bloom.
ALGAE
• The growth of a particular algal species can be
both sudden and massive.
• Algal cells can increase to very high densities in
the water, often thousands of cells per milliliter,
and the water itself can be colored brown, red, or
green.
• Algal blooms occur in freshwater systems and in
marine environments, and they usually disappear
in a few days to a few weeks.
ALGAE
• These blooms consume oxygen, increase
turbidity, and clog lakes and streams.
• Some algal species release water-soluble
compounds that may be toxic to fish and
shellfish, resulting in fish kills and
poisoning episodes.
TYPES OF ALGAE
• Algal groups are generally classified on the
basis of the pigments that color their cells.
• The most common algal groups are blue-green
algae, green algae, red algae, and brown algae.
• Algal blooms in freshwater lakes and ponds tend
to be caused by blue-green and green algae.
The excessive amounts of nutrients that cause
these blooms are often the result of human
activities.
• Some common blue-green algae known to
cause blooms as well as release nerve toxins
are Microcystis, Nostoc, and Anabaena.
RED TIDE
• Red tides in coastal areas are a type of
algal bloom. They are common in many
parts of the world, including the New York
Bight, the Gulf of California, and the Red
Sea.
• Toxic red tides most often consist of
genera from the dinoflagellate algal group
such as Gonyaulax and Gymnodinium.
RED TIDE
• Some red tide organisms naturally produce
potent toxins, such as saxitoxin, domoic acid, or
brevetoxin.
• The various red tide toxins each have different
modes of action, such as disrupting the proper
function of ion channels in neurons, mimicking of
neurotransmitters, or inhibition of enzymatic
activity.
• Domoic acid, a toxin produced by diatoms of the
genus Pseudo-nitzschia, has been linked to
neurological damage in certain marine
mammals, and is frequently found in algal
blooms on the U.S. West Coast.
RED TIDE
• Some red tide toxins can become highly
concentrated in various marine organisms that
have the ability to filter and consume large
quantities of toxic plankton directly from
seawater.
• These include shellfish, finfish, baleen whales,
and benthic crustaceans. Frequently, shellfish
collected in areas affected by algal blooms can
be potentially dangerous for human
consumption, leading to closures of shellfish
beds for harvesting.
RED TIDE
• The potency of the toxins has been
estimated to be 10 to 50 times higher than
cyanide or curare.
• People who eat exposed shellfish may
suffer from paralytic shellfish poisoning
within 30 minutes of consumption.
• A fish kill of 500 million fish was reported
from a red tide in Florida in 1947.
ALGAL BLOOM
(CYANOBACTERIA)
RED TIDE
RED TIDE (SABAH)

Fenomena air laut merah di kawasan perairan labuan


RED TIDE-SABAH
SOURCES OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
Two major sources of cultural eutrophication
are:
nitrogen (nitrates)
and phosphorus (phosphates).
MAIN SOURCES OF
PHOSPHORUS
:
1. HUMAN WASTES
- Discharge of untreated municipal sewage
- Discharge of treated municipal sewage.
- Detergents in wastewater
- Septic tank leachate
- Runoff and leachate from wastewater
disposal systems
MAIN SOURCES OF PHOSPHORUS

2.ANIMAL WASTE
- Livestock sewage provide
one form of source of
phosphorus
-Runoff and infiltration from
animal feedlot
MAIN SOURCES OF PHOSPHORUS

3. INDUSTRIAL WASTES
-Industrial wastewater effluents
-Some types of industrial wastes interfere
with the removal of phosphorus at
wastewater treatment plants.
-Runoff from unsewered industrial sites.
-
MAIN SOURCES OF PHOSPHORUS
4. HUMAN DISTURBANCE OF THE LAND AND ITS
VEGETATION
1. Soil erosion contributes phosphorus to rivers. The
removal of natural vegetation for farming or
construction for example, exposes soil to the eroding
action of rain and melting snow. Soil particles washed
into waterways contribute more phosphorus.
2. Fertilizers used for crops, lawns, and home gardens
usually contain phosphorus. When used in excess,
much of the phosphorus in these fertilizers eventually
finds its way into lakes and rivers.
MAIN SOURCES OF PHOSPHORUS

3.Draining swamps and marshes for


farmland or shopping malls releases
nutrients like phosphorus that have
remained dormant in years of accumulated
organic deposits.
Also, drained wetlands no longer function
as filters of silt and phosphorus, allowing
more runoff -and phosphorus- to enter
waterways.
MAIN SOURCES OF PHOSPHORUS

-Runoff from streets, lawns and construction


sites.
-Runoff from mines and oil fields
NITROGEN/ NITRATES
• Chemical forms of nitrogen are most often of concern
with regard to eutrophication because plants have high
nitrogen requirements so that additions of nitrogen
compounds stimulate plant growth production.

• Nitrogen is not readily available in soil because N2, a


gaseous form of nitrogen, is very stable and unavailable
directly to higher plants. Terrestrial ecosystems rely on
microbial nitrogen fixation to convert N2 into other
physical forms (such as nitrates). However, there is a
limit to how much nitrogen can be utilized.

• Ecosystems receiving more nitrogen than the plants


require are called nitrogen-saturated.
NITROGEN/ NITRATES
• Saturated terrestrial ecosystems contribute both
inorganic and organic nitrogen to freshwater,
coastal, and marine eutrophication, where
nitrogen is also typically a limiting nutrient.
• However, because phosphorus is generally
much less soluble than nitrogen, it is leached
from the soil at a much slower rate than
nitrogen.
• Consequently, phosphorus is much more
important as a limiting nutrient in aquatic
systems.
SOURCES OF NITRATES
1. HUMAN WASTE
- Discharge of untreated municipal
sewage
- Discharge of treated municipal sewage
SOURCES OF NITRATES
2.ANIMAL WASTE
- Livestock sewage provide
one form of source of
phosphorus
-Runoff and infiltration from
animal feedlot
SOURCES OF NITRATES
3. INDUSTRIAL WASTES
-Industrial wastewater effluents
-Runoff from unsewered industrial sites
-Atmospheric deposition over a surface
water.
SOURCES OF NITRATES
4. HUMAN DISTURBANCE OF THE LAND
AND ITS VEGETATION
- Runoff from streets, lawns and
construction sites.
- Runoff from mines and oil fields
- Inorganic fertilizer runoff
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS
• Increased biomass of phytoplankton
Shallow lakes and impounded river reaches, where the water is
shallow and very slow-moving, are most vulnerable to the effects of
cultural eutrophication.
Nutrients stimulates the growth of rooted aquatic vegetation. These
plants, in turn, draw previously locked nutrients within bottom
sediments and release it into the water, causing further
eutrophication.
As eutrophication increases, algal blooms become more frequent.
Aquatic plants that normally grow in shallow waters become very
dense.
• Decreases in water transparency (increased turbidity)
The first symptom of cultural eutrophication is an algal bloom that
colors the water a pea-soup green.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL EUTROPHICATION
• Color, smell, and water treatment problems
These conditions usually occur near the bottom of a
lake or impounded river stretch, and produce gases like
hydrogen sulfide, unmistakable for its "rotten egg" smell.
• If the lake serves as a drinking water source, excess
algal growth clogs intakes, increases corrosion of pipes,
makes filtration more expensive and causes taste and
odor problems
• Loss of desirable fish species resulting in reductions
in harvestable fish and shellfish.
As with other types of water pollution, cultural
eutrophication causes a shift in aquatic life to a fewer
number of pollution tolerant species. The many different
species that exist in clean water are replaced by a fewer
number of species that can tolerate low dissolved
oxygen levels-carp, midge larvae, sewage worms
(Tubifex), and others.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
• Decreased perceived aesthetic value of
the water body.
Swimming and boating may become
impossible. Swimming in eutrophic waters
causes “swimmer’s itch”
• Dissolved oxygen depletion
The advanced stages of cultural
eutrophication can produce anaerobic
conditions in which oxygen in the water is
completely depleted.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL EUTROPHICATION
• Decreased biodiversity
Algal blooms limit the sunlight available to
bottom-dwelling organisms and cause wide
swings in the amount of dissolved oxygen in the
water.
Under eutrophic conditions, dissolved oxygen
greatly increases during the day, but is greatly
reduced after dark by the respiring algae and by
microorganisms that feed on the increasing
mass of dead algae.
When dissolved oxygen levels decline to
hypoxic levels, fish and other marine animals
suffocate. As a result, creatures such as fish,
shrimp, and especially immobile bottom dwellers
die off.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
• New species invasion
Eutrophication may cause competitive
release by making a normally limiting
nutrient abundant.
This process causes shifts in the species
composition of ecosystems. For instance,
an increase in nitrogen might allow new,
competitive species to invade and out-
compete original inhabitant species.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
ALGAL TOXICITY
• Some algal blooms, otherwise called "nuisance
algae" or "harmful algal blooms," are toxic to
plants and animals.
• Toxic compounds they produce can make their
way up the food chain, resulting in animal
mortality. Freshwater algal blooms can pose a
threat to livestock. When the algae die or are
eaten, neuro- and hepatotoxins are released
which can kill animals and may pose a threat to
humans.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
ALGAL TOXICITY
• An example of algal toxins working their way into
humans is the case of shellfish poisoning.
• Biotoxins created during algal blooms are taken
up by shellfish (mussels, oysters), leading to
these human foods acquiring the toxicity and
poisoning humans.
• Examples include paralytic, neurotoxic, and
diarrhoetic shellfish poisoning.
• Other marine animals can be vectors for such
toxins, as in the case of ciguatera, where it is
typically a predator fish that accumulates the
toxin and then poisons humans.
IMPACTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
NUTRIENT TOXICITY
• Nitrogen can also cause toxic effects directly.
When this nutrient is leached into groundwater,
drinking water can be affected because
concentrations of nitrogen are not filtered out.
• Nitrate (NO3) has been shown to be toxic to
human babies. This is because bacteria can live
in their digestive tract that convert nitrate to
nitrite (NO2).
• Nitrite reacts with hemoglobin to form
methemoglobin, a form that does not carry
oxygen. The baby essentially suffocates as its
body receives insufficient oxygen.
REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF CULTURAL
EUTROPHICATION
• Reducing our use of lawn fertilizers (particularly inorganic
forms) that drain into waterways;
• Encouraging better farming practices
• Preserving natural vegetation whenever possible,
particularly near shorelines;
• Preserving wetlands to absorb nutrients and maintain water
levels; Enacting strict ordinances to prevent soil erosion;
• Supporting measures (including taxes) to improve
phosphorus removal by wastewater treatment plants and
septic systems; treating storm sewer wastes if necessary;
encouraging homeowners along lakes and streams to invest
in community sewer systems;
• Requiring particular industries to pretreat their wastes
before sending it to a wastewater treatment plant
EUTROPHICATION

Fine, delicate green algae has overgrown and smothered coral during blooms
in Maui.
EUTROPHICATION

Eutrophication has created a profound effect on the food web, threatening frog
existence.