Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trying To Save World's Lakes: Controlling Nitrogen Can Actually Worsen Problems

Date:
July 24, 2008
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
After completing one of the longest running experiments ever done on a lake, researchers contend that nitrogen control, in which the European Union and many other jurisdictions around the world are investing millions of dollars, is not effective and in fact, may actually increase the problem of cultural eutrophication.

Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg undergoing eutrophication.
Credit: Image taken by Lori Volkart

After completing one of the longest running experiments ever done on a lake, researchers from the University of Alberta, University of Minnesota and the Freshwater Institute, contend that nitrogen control, in which the European Union and many other jurisdictions around the world are investing millions of dollars, is not effective and in fact, may actually increase the problem of cultural eutrophication.

The dramatic rise in cultural eutrophication -- the addition of nutrients to a body of water due to human activity that often causes huge algal blooms, fish kills and other problems in lakes throughout the world -- has resulted from increased deposits of nutrients to lakes, largely from human sewage and agricultural wastes.

For 37 years researchers looked at Lake 227, a small lake in the Canadian Shield at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in Ontario, Canada, and examined the best ways to control the cultural eutrophication process of lakes by varying the levels of phosphorus and nitrogen added to the lake.

"What we found goes against the practices of the European Union and many scientists around the world," said David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta and one of the world's leading water researchers. "Controlling nitrogen does not correct the polluted lakes, and in fact, may actually aggravate the problem and make it worse."

A previous study, entitled, A Survey of the State of the World's Lakes, found that the cultural eutrophication of lakes has had a global effect. The continent percentage of lakes with cultural eutrophication were shown as:

  • Asia: 54 per cent
  • Europe: 53 per cent
  • North America: 48 per cent
  • South America: 41 per cent
  • Africa: 28 per cent

"The damage to these lakes is a major concern for virtually every continent," said Schindler.

The impact on human society is immense he says, as cultural eutrophication severely reduces water quality, which not only kills and contaminates fish, shellfish and other animals, but also can become a health-related problem in humans once it begins to interfere with drinking water treatment.

This study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Trying To Save World's Lakes: Controlling Nitrogen Can Actually Worsen Problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721173754.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2008, July 24). Trying To Save World's Lakes: Controlling Nitrogen Can Actually Worsen Problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721173754.htm
University of Alberta. "Trying To Save World's Lakes: Controlling Nitrogen Can Actually Worsen Problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721173754.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins