Eutrophication

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Eutrophication'

Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Eutrophication'


Eutrophication (Greek: eutrophia - healthy, adequate nutrition, development; German: Eutrophie) is the addition of artificial or non-artificial substances, such as nitrates and phosphates, through fertilizers or sewage, to a fresh water system. , i.e. the primary productivity of the waterbody. In other terms, it is the "bloom" or great increase of phytoplankton in a water body. Negative environmental effects include Hypoxia, or loss of oxygen in the water with severe reductions in fish and other animal populations. Other species (such as Nomurai Jellyfish in Japanese waters) may experience an increase in population that negatively affects other species in the local ecosystem.

Eutrophication can be human-caused or natural. Untreated sewage effluent and agricultural run-off carrying fertilizers are examples of human-caused eutrophication. However, it also occurs naturally in situations where nutrients accumulate (e.g. depositional environments), or where they flow into systems on an ephemeral basis. Eutrophication generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favouring simple algae and plankton over other more complicated plants, and causes a severe reduction in water quality. Enhanced growth of aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton and algal blooms disrupts normal functioning of the ecosystem, causing a variety of problems such as a lack of oxygen needed for fish and shellfish to survive. The water becomes cloudy, typically coloured a shade of green, yellow, brown, or red. Eutrophication also decreases the value of rivers, lakes, and estuaries for recreation, fishing, hunting, and aesthetic enjoyment. Health problems can occur where eutrophic conditions interfere with drinking water treatment.

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