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Acid rain and the survival of fresh water guppies (Poecilia reticulata)Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

The mortality rate of fresh water guppies (Poecilia reticulata) increases as the acid level in the water increases.

Hypothesis

The mortality rate of fresh water guppies (Poecilia reticulata) increases as the acid level in the water increases.

Scientific Terms

Acid rain, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, pH, acidic, alkaline.

Background

Acid rain

With increased industrial pollution, gases such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide are released into the atmosphere and are subsequently absorbed by droplets of water which form in clouds. Acid is formed when these gases are dissolved in the water droplets. This acidic water then returns to us in the form of rain or snow. The acid rain that descends onto our towns, roads, farms and forests then flow into our rivers and lakes through existing drainage systems.

Water in the rivers and fresh water lakes normally have a pH level falling between 6 and 8. However as a result of acid rain, pH levels in rivers and lakes drop as the water becomes more acidic. These acidic waters are a danger to the survival of a myriad of aquatic plants and animals that live in our rivers and lakes.

What is pH?

pH is the measurement of acidity and alkalinity. It ranges from 1 to 14.

  • A neutral solution has a pH measurement of 7.
  • An acidic solution has a pH measurement that falls between 1 to 6, with pH 1 being more acidic and pH 7 less acidic.
  • An alkaline solution has a pH measurement that falls between 8 to 14, with pH 14 being more basic (alkaline) and pH 8 less basic.
  • You should note that pH readings have decimals. Eg. pH 7.5.

 

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Complexity level:
9
Project cost ($):
50
Time required:
2 hours to prepare, 10 hours for observation
Material availability:
Guppies and tanks can be purchased at a nearby store
Safety concerns:

None