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Effect of acid rain on algae Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to determine how acid rain affects the growth of algae in ponds. The science fair project was carried out on spirogyra, green algae and red algae by placing them in water of pH 5, 6, and 7 values.

Hypothesis

Green algae and red algae will be able to survive in acidic water as they are acidophilic plants.

Scientific Terms

Nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, water vapor, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, acidophilic

Background

Acid rain

Acid rain is caused by pollutant gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen, that are emitted as industrial waste and by vehicles, into the atmosphere. These gases combine with moisture in the atmosphere and become sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Rainwater mixes with these acids , and turns acidic. Rainwater that contains these acids will have  a lower pH reading and is called acid rain.

Acid rain  precipitates at locations far from the source of the pollution. This is because pollutantgasses are carried by the wind for days or weeks and over long distances before they combine with water vapor and return to the ground as rainfall. Normally, rain water has a pH value of around 6.0 but acid rain has pH levels of between 4.0 to 5.5.

Acid rain can cause serious damage to plants and the environment. Plant roots are damaged and plants may experience stunted growth or may even die as a result of acid rain. Most algae are also killed by acid rain. However, some types of algae are acidophilic and are able to survive in acidic waters.
 

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Complexity level:
1
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 4 days for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements, Use gloves and safety goggles/masks when handling the sulphuric acid.