The Effect of Pollutants on Marine Life

2012 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The abstract below was written by the student. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District made no editorial changes.

Effects of Pollutants on Marine Life

Stephanie Durham and Sara Hahm, Marshall High School


This experiment focused on the effect of Halite Dissolve Crystals, motor oil, Scott's Starter fertilizer and AJAX dish liquid on the growth and development of Pomacea bridgesiis, Bacopa monnieras, Elodea densas and Palaemonetes kadakensis. All of these pollutant's dangerous chemicals have negatively impacted the Chesapeake Bay and countless other estuaries. However, many effects of these toxins are still unknown. For the experiment, small quantities of each of the pollutants were regularly added to the tanks the marine life had been placed in, except the control tank, which received no pollutant. Then, the weight, diameter of shells', life cycle, and appearance of the animals as well as the number of leaves, height, life cycle, and appearance of the plants were recorded. It was assumed that if varying concentrations of each pollutant was added to the tanks, then the marine life exposed to the greater concentration of pollutants at once would be shocked and the most negatively affected. Additionally, the motor oil would have the greatest impact, especially on the Palaemonetes kadakensis. This hypothesis was mostly incorrect. The Palaemonetes kadakensis were the first of the dependent variables to be affected. However, the motor oil negatively impacted the marine life, yet it was not as lethal as the fertilizer and dish liquid. The marine life in the ice melter and control tanks remained rather constant or increased in health. Also, the larger concentrations added at once were not always the most harmful.

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