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Cultural Eutrophication Diagram

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One response to added amounts of nutrients in the aquatic ecosystem is the rapid growth of microscopic algae, also known as an algal bloom. In freshwater systems, the formation of floating algal blooms are commonly nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). This outcome is favoured when nitrogen inputs are reduced and phosphorus inputs are increased. Large amounts of algae reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen available in the water for other organisms, which increases fish mortality rates. These areas affected by algal blooms are known as dead zones, and are found where rivers empty into oceans. Nutrient pollution is a major cause of algal blooming however, the excess nutrients also facilitate the growth of other aquatic plants. Following this, overcrowding occurs and plants compete for sunlight, space, and oxygen. Overgrowth of water plants also blocks sunlight and oxygen for aquatic life in the water, which threatens their survival. Increased competition for the added nutrients can cause potential disruption to entire ecosystems and food webs, as well as a loss of habitat, and biodiversity of species.

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