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Aquatic Nutrient Levels and Climate Change

Author(s): Elli Bosch1, Kaycee Faunce1, Amanda Thompson

Virginia Commonwealth University

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Summary:
This learning module was designed to introduce students to the aquatic nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, their roles in ecosystem function and nutrient pollution, and what impacts climate change might have on their presence and effects in aquatic…

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This learning module was designed to introduce students to the aquatic nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, their roles in ecosystem function and nutrient pollution, and what impacts climate change might have on their presence and effects in aquatic systems

Description

Nutrient pollution is one of the most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems today. The role of climate change in nutrient pollution is the focal topic of this module, which begins by discussing the importance of nitrogen and phosphorus in aquatic systems, the effects that may occur under unnatural excesses of either nutrient and how policy-makers are attempting to improve water quality in rivers in the United States.

Data collected by Dr. Paul Bukaveckas, an ecosystem ecologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, are used to support the information provided within the module. In the associated exercise, students are asked to interpret data from linear regression models associated with discharge, nitrogen, and phosphorus and discuss their conclusions about the model results in the context of climate change and regulatory measures such as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).

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