The cultural eutrophication process consists of a continuous increase in the contribution of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus organic load until it exceeds the capacity of the water body i. These structural changes mainly depend on 3 factors:. Example of silting of a reservoir rivistadiagraria.
Formation mechanism By clicking here you can see a short outreach video that well describes the eutrophication process.
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Eutrophication is characterised by a significant increase of algae microscopic organisms similar to plants due to the greater availability of one or more growth factors necessary for photosynthesis, such as sunlight, carbon dioxide and nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. When algae start to grow in an uncontrolled manner, an increasingly large biomass is formed which is destined to degrade.
In deep water, a large amount of organic substance accumulates, represented by the algae having reached the end of their life cycle. To destroy all the dead algae, an excessive consumption of oxygen is required, in some cases almost total, by microorganisms. An anoxic oxygen-free environment is thus created on the lake bottom, with the growth of organisms capable of living in the absence of oxygen anaerobic , responsible for the degradation of the biomass. The microorganisms, decomposing the organic substance in the absence of oxygen, free compounds that are toxic, such as ammonia and hydrogen sulphide H 2 S.
The absence of oxygen reduces biodiversity causing, in certain cases, even the death of animal and plant species. All this happens when the rate of degradation of the algae by microorganisms is greater than that of oxygen regeneration, which in summer is already present in low concentrations. Eutrophication process representation Feem re-elaboration from Arpa Umbria, Effects The disturbance of aquatic equilibria may be more or less evident according to the enrichment of water by nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen.
When the eutrophication phenomenon becomes particularly intense, undesirable effects and environmental imbalances are generated. The two most acute phenomena of eutrophication are hypoxia in the deep part of the lake or lack of oxygen and algal blooms that produce harmful toxins, processes that can destroy aquatic life in the affected areas www. The main effects caused by eutrophication can be summarised as follows N.
In the light of these significant repercussions and serious consequent economic and naturalistic damage, there is a clear need to curb the progress of eutrophication, avoiding the collapse of the affected ecosystems. Control In the past, the traditional eutrophication reduction strategies, including the alteration of excess nutrients, physical mixing of the water, application of powerful herbicides and algaecides, have proven ineffective, expensive and impractical for large ecosystems Michael F.
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Chislock, Today, the main control mechanism of the eutrophic process is based on prevention techniques, namely removal of the nutrients that are introduced into water bodies from the water. It would be sufficient to reduce the concentrations of one of the two main nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus , in particular phosphorus which is considered to be the limiting factor for the growth of algae, acting on localised loads loads associated with waste water and widespread loads phosphorus loads determined by diffuse sources such as land and rain. In this section we have all you need to know about the human body.
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