This process is influenced by external and internal sources of nutrients. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. [2] Phosphates and nitrates are the two main nutrients that cause cultural eutrophication as they enrich the water allowing for aquatic plants such as algae to grow rapidly. This process may result in oxygen depletion of the water body after the bacterial degradation of the algae. [10] Generating an anaerobic environment is also another method where microorganisms degrade the waste without the use of oxygen. Cultural eutrophication is when a flux of excess nutrients from human activity are added into a local run-off which in turns speeds up the natural eutrophication. Eutrophication is the process by which lakes acquire high concentrations of nutrients which promote excessive algae growth. As the presence of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients––also known as organic load––increase, it surpasses the capacity of the water to purify itself. The answer is, EUTROPHICATION: a complex process which occurs both in fresh and marine waters, where excessive development of certain types of algae disturbs the aquatic ecosystems and becomes a threat for animal and human health. The cultural activities of man greatly accelerate the transport of phosphorus, nitrogen and other elements which may limit aquatic plant growth in natural waters. [5], One response to added amounts of nutrients in the aquatic ecosystem is the rapid growth of microscopic algae, also known as an algal bloom. Eutrophication is characterized by the increase of plant or algae due to an escalation of one or more growth factors necessary for photosynthesis: sunlight, carbon dioxide, and/or nutrients. A reduction in water’s capacity to purify itself leads to a decrease in the quality of water, and a subsequent increase in the chances of eutrophication … [3], The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) that spans from Michigan, USA to Ontario, Canada is a fully equipped, year-round, permanent field station that uses the whole ecosystem approach and long-term, whole-lake investigations of freshwater focusing on cultural eutrophication. Large amounts of algae reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen available in the water for other organisms, which increases fish mortality rates. 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. However, despite extensive research during the past four to five decades, many key questions in eutrophication science remain unanswered. [9] Fertilizer is a natural or chemically modified substance that helps soil become more fertile. In some areas incineration is used where the solid waste is exposed to high temperatures turning the waste into ash. It is estimated that 50-70% of all nutrients reaching surface water (principally N and P) originate on agricultural land as fertilizers or animal waste. This outcome is favored when nitrogen inputs are reduced and phosphorus inputs are increased. "Phosphorus in the Environment: Natural Flows and Human Interferences", Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, "Eutrophication of lakes cannot be controlled by reducing nitrogen input: Results of a 37-year whole-ecosystem experiment", "A personal history of the Experimental Lakes Project", "Incinerating Sewage Sludge and producing reusable ash: Japanese Experience", "Fertilizer 101: The Big Three - Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cultural_eutrophication&oldid=995791678, Articles with dead external links from July 2019, Articles with permanently dead external links, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/science/cultural-eutrophication. Cultural (Human-caused) Eutrophication. Releasing raw sewage into a large water body is referred to as sewage dumping, which is a large problem in today's society even in developed countries. This begins to cause many problems for the nearby wildlife as well as recreational activities for humans. A continuous increase in nutrient concentration in a lake decreases the ability of self-purification of the ecosystem and can even lead to the premature death of a body of water. In freshwater systems, the formation of floating algal blooms are commonly nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Some safety precautions are: The acceleration of natural eutrophication because of human activity. This anoxic environment kills off any organisms in the water body and make it hard for terrestrial animals to gain access to the water for drinking. Usually this occurs as a result of the introduction of a range of nutrients through fertilizers, chemicals, or soaps and detergents [5]. It is where eutrophication happens much faster because of human interference.. 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