How Water Affects The Health Of A Stream

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Abstract Because streams play important roles in ecosystems and also provide drinking water for humans, this experiment was performed to determine if water velocity affects the health of a stream. For our purposes, water heath was determined by concentrations of dissolved oxygen. We predicted that areas of higher water velocity would have a lower chlorophyll a concentration and higher dissolved oxygen concentration. We collected six samples of water from Wild Basin Preserve in Austin, TX, three from areas of still water and three from areas of running water. We measured the dissolved oxygen concentrations of each sample using an YSI 550A Dissolved Oxygen Instrument and measured the chlorophyll a concentrations of each sample using a DU 800…show more content…
Streams in urban areas are vulnerable to the effects of deforestation, creation of roads, and the release of toxins into the environment (Walsh et. al 2005). These anthropogenic activities affect the biodiversity of ecosystems in streams and negatively impact the stream’s health. This experiment was executed for the purpose of diagnosing the health of a stream located in Wild Basin, a natural park in Austin, TX. Our goal was to determine how the movement of water affects the quality of the water. Measuring chlorophyll a concentrations is one way to determine the health of a stream, because it is the main photosynthetic pigment in periphyton. Periphyton is a primary producer in stream ecosystem and provides information about conditions within the stream. An abundance of periphyton positively affects an ecosystem because periphyton absorbs metals and nutrients and provides a significant component of the food resources to other species (Gray 2013). However, it is also important to measure the concentration of dissolved oxygen in streams to determine the health. If the concentration of periphyton is too high, there will be a large amount of primary and secondary consumers that migrate to the location and deplete the concentration of oxygen. For our study, we hypothesized that constantly moving water would have higher dissolved oxygen content because the movement helps oxygenate the water
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