eutrophication

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eutrophication

(yo͞otrō'fĭkā`shən), aging of a lake by biological enrichment of its water. In a young lake the water is cold and clear, supporting little life. With time, streams draining into the lake introduce nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which encourage the growth of aquatic organisms. As the lake's fertility increases, plant and animal life burgeons, and organic remains begin to be deposited on the lake bottom. Over the centuries, as silt and organic debris pile up, the lake grows shallower and warmer, with warm-water organisms supplanting those that thrive in a cold environment. Marsh plants take root in the shallows and begin to fill in the original lake basin. Eventually the lake gives way to bogbog,
very old lake without inlet or outlet that becomes acid and is gradually overgrown with a characteristic vegetation (see swamp). Peat moss, or sphagnum, grows around the edge of the open water of a bog (peat is obtained from old bogs) and out on the surface.
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, finally disappearing into land. Depending on climate, size of the lake, and other factors, the natural aging of a lake may span thousands of years. However, pollutants from man's activities can radically accelerate the aging process. During the past century, lakes in many parts of the earth have been severely eutrophied by sewage and agricultural and industrial wastes (see water pollutionwater pollution,
contamination of water resources by harmful wastes; see also sewerage, water supply, pollution, and environmentalism. Industrial Pollution
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). The prime contaminants are nitrates and phosphates, which act as plant nutrients. They overstimulate the growth of algae, causing unsightly scum and unpleasant odors, and robbing the water of dissolved oxygen vital to other aquatic life. At the same time, other pollutants flowing into a lake may poison whole populations of fish, whose decomposing remains further deplete the water's dissolved oxygen content. In such fashion, a lake can literally choke to death.

eutrophication

[yü·trə·fə′kā·shən]
(ecology)
The process by which a body of water becomes, either by natural means or by pollution, excessively rich in dissolved nutrients, resulting in increased primary productivity that often leads to a seasonal deficiency in dissolved oxygen.
References in periodicals archive ?
It's been said that nitrogen pollution is the biggest environmental disaster that nobody has heard of," said Townsend.
Nitrogen pollution can cause irritation of the lungs and also reduce resistance to flu and respiratory conditions.
For French-speaking Wallonia, Belgium argued that nitrogen pollution was largely domestic or industrial, and while the court accepted this, it said farming pollution was "by no means insignificant".
The Lancaster plant is under orders from state regulators to stop treated effluent from overflowing onto Edwards Air Force Base's Rosamond Dry Lake, and the Palmdale plant is under orders to reduce nitrogen pollution from reaching groundwater.
Oak woodlands in Bethesda are experiencing high levels of acid deposition and heathlands around Brecon are loaded with nitrogen pollution.
In a separate study Open University PhD student Carly Stevens warns that nitrogen pollution is also leading to fewer grassland plants.
Perakis and Hedin trekked to several remote forests in southern Chile and Argentina--areas that receive no significant nitrogen pollution.
Although viewed by some as an ecological no-no, grazing is essential for the 2-inch (5-centimeter) butterflies threatened by nitrogen pollution in the San Francisco Bay area.
The tree planting will prevent the runoff of 200 pounds of nitrogen pollution a year into a nearby creek that feeds into Frederick's city drinking water supply.
Nitrogen pollution in Cape waters affects not only the natural resources, but the economy and quality-of-life there too, said Governor Charlie Baker.
This sustainable nitrogen technology will offer a global solution to help reduce nitrogen pollution and also boost agriculture.