How Does Runoff from Major Chemical Pollutants Impact Local Aquatic Plants in the Chesapeake Bay’s Ecosystem

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Introduction:

My project aims to provide a visual on the impacts of these chemicals on eelgrass, a local type of seagrass which is very common in the Chesapeake, because it will hopefully help draw attention to and make people realize the human impacts of the way we live and how they will eventually come back and impact the overall quality of the bay. Hopefully this project will help inspire people to create change and look for solutions to prevent large amounts of runoff for the future, whether it is making an effort to use less of these chemicals when possible or finding ways to remove preexisting amounts of them from our waters, it is hopeful that it will make a difference in improving some of the pollution in my community.

Specifics of my Project:

My project covers, specifically, the impacts of Phosphorous and Nitrogen pollution on Vallisneria americana, a local type of seagrass in the Chesapeake which is more commonly known as eelgrass, are shown via the images.

In the Chesapeake Bay, pollution is an ever-increasing component which can greatly impact the quality and capability of marine plants in the area. Many marine plants play a key role in their ecosystem due to their ability to remove amounts of carbon dioxide from the water. This ability was shown by a project from the Carnegie Institution for Science in which computer models were able to predict that, “The seagrass meadows would turn back the clock on ocean acidification a few decades, a small offset to the more than 150 years of acidification”. They are also very important for providing shelter and a source of food for other nearby species. However, this ability can be impacted by certain amounts of chemicals in the water. Some chemicals, in excessive amounts, can cause algae blooms which will further lead to dead zones. Aside from this, they can also have a negative impact on the plants’ overall quality. Nitrogen and phosphorous are two of these major chemical pollutants which can greatly impact the growth of algae and plants, which is one of the main reasons these chemicals are so prominent in fertilizers and other products used in the agriculture industry. With the excess amounts of these chemicals in agricultural as well as residential products it is very common for some amounts of them to end up in the Chesapeake Bay as a result of runoff from the surrounding watershed area.

Impact:

The impact of these chemicals and pollution in general in my community is shocking. It is saddening to see how the runoff is harming the bay and its local plants which have so much importance in its ecosystem. It is clear to me that the levels of pollution around me and in my community are not okay and are causing too much damage. Hopefully, providing a true visual as to what it does to the plants will encourage and promote an effort to make the bay a cleaner place for all its inhabitants, including plants.

Works Cited:

  1. Carnegie Institution for Science. “Can Seagrass Help Fight Ocean Acidification?”ScienceDaily, 31 July 2018, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180731141632.htm.
  2. “The Effects: Dead Zones and Harmful Algal Blooms.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 10 Mar. 2017, www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/effects-dead-zones-and- harmful-algal-blooms.
  3. “Ocean Acidification’s Impact on Oysters and Other Shellfish.” PMEL Carbon Program, www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification’s+impact+on+oysters+and+othe r+shellfish.
  4. Vitz, Ed. “PH of Chesapeake Bay.” Chemistry LibreTexts, Libretexts, 5 June 2019, chem.libretexts.org/Ancillary_Materials/Exemplars_and_Case_Studies/Exemplars/En vironmental_and_Green_chemistry/pH_of_Chesapeake_Bay.
  5. “Total Phosphorus Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers, Mean 2008-2012.”Chesapeake Bay Program, www.chesapeakebay.net/what/maps/total_phosphorus_yield_mean_2008_2012.
  6. “Total Nitrogen Yields Measured in Watershed Streams and Rivers, Mean 2008-2012.”Chesapeake Bay Program, www.chesapeakebay.net/what/maps/total_nitrogen_yield_mean_2008_2012.
3 Comments

3 comments

  1. Avatar

    Hi Tiffany! Your topic is really cool and I think it’s great that you are drawing attention to it! I like how the pictures you took and how you laid it out in order to add meaning to your message!

  2. Isabella Sy

    Hi Tiffany! I love your topic because environmental issues in particular are very important to me as well, so I’m glad that you’re raising awareness on this. I think your project is very effective in encouraging people to help keep the Chesapeake Bay clean because, unfortunately, people don’t care unless they are viewing the consequences of their actions firsthand. I’m sure that your project will inspire people to reflect upon their current behavior, and hopefully, in the future, we won’t have to worry as much about issues like this.

  3. Avatar

    Hey Tiffany! This is a really cool project that you explained well. You seem to be very knowledgeable about the subject and the visuals are a key part of your presentation. This very cool. Job well done!

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