Effects of Water Pollution on Plant Diversity

Lab 3 – Biodiversity

Experiment 1: Effects of Water Pollution on Plant Diversity

Water pollution can have severely negative effects on biodiversity and ecosystems, particularly on plant populations. In many cases, these pollutants are introduced to the environment through everyday human activity. In this experiment, you will contaminate several water samples, as well as purify a water sample. You will then evaluate the effects of water pollution and purification on the biodiversity of wildflowers.



Table 1: Water Observations (smell, color, etc.)
Beaker Observations
1 Color is clear has no smell
2 Oil separates from water and no smell,
3 Vinegar smells like vinegar but looks like water, clear
4 Laundry detergent light purple color, smells like detergent
5 Dirty brown water smells like dirt settles at bottom
6 Little darker then beaker 5, oil remains at top slight bubbles dirt settles at bottom
7 Little lighter then beaker 6 and smells like vinegar and dirt smell not as strong
8 Darker than the other beakers and smells like detergent

1. What effects did each of the contaminants have on the water in the experiment? Use Table 1 for reference.

Answer = Oil had no effect on the water and two were separated. Detergent mixed well and changed the smell as well as color. Vinegar mixed with the water but kept its potent smell.

2. What kinds of human activities could cause oil, acids, and detergents to contaminate the water supply?

Answer = Human activities that we rarely think about that contaminates the water supply would be washing our vehicles or changing its oil not in a designated area and placing salt on the road. When it rains all this will eventually end up in the water.

3. What are the differences in color, smell, visibility, etc. between the “contaminated” water and the “treated” water?

Answer = Contaminated water spelled like dirty water, while the filtered water has a smell but it smelled and appeared to be cleaner.

4. From the introduction to Lab 2, you know that there are typically five steps involved in the water treatment process. Identify the processes (e.g., coagulation) that were used in this lab and describe how they were performed.

Answer = (1) Begins with aeration, air is added to the water increasing the amount oxygen within the water. Moving water and soil from one beak to the next 15x(2) Coagulation or flocculation, in which chemicals such as filter alum are added to the incoming water and then stirred strongly in a powerful mixer causing compounds to form a floc that attract the dirt and other small particles sinking to the bottom placing cheesecloth-lined in the funnel(3) particles sink to the bottom during coagulation are separated out and the remaining water is sent on to filtration , which water passes through filters made of layers of sand charcoal, gravel, and pebbles that help filter out the smaller particles that have passed through until this point pouring sand into the cheesecloth (5)Disinfection, is when chlorine and/or other disinfectants are added to kill any bacteria that may still be in the water. Slowly pouring clean tap water through the filter in the funnel is full

5. Develop a hypothesis regarding how using contaminated or purified water might affect plant biodiversity. Which pot do you believe will contain the greatest biodiversity (greatest number of species)? Why?

Hypothesis = Contaminated water will affect the growth of the plants and will remain not to grow, purified water will grow all plant species and tap water may grow some plants.

Table 2: Number of Plant Species Present in the Pots
Species Observed Tap Water Contaminated Water Purified Water
Zinnia Y N Y N Y N
Marigold Y N Y N Y N
Morning Glory Y N Y N Y N
Cosmos Y N Y N Y N
Ryegrass Y N Y N Y N
Total Number of Species in Pot: 5 1 5

6. Based on the results of your experiment, would you reject or accept the hypothesis that you produced in question 5? Explain how you determined this.

Accept/Reject = Accept. All plants watered by tap and pure water grew the same and both grew the same plants. Look the same. While the contaminated barely grew anything expect for Ryegrass but only a few strings (less than 5)

7. Alum contains aluminum. Research the effects of aluminum on plants by finding a scholarly source online. Does your research provide any insight into your results? Discuss your findings as they relate to the results of your experiment.

Answer =

8. Imagine that each pot was a sample you found in a group of wildflowers. Based on the diversity of flowers in each pot, would you consider the ecosystem to be healthy? Why or why not?

Answer =

9. How does biodiversity contribute to the overall health of an ecosystem? Provide specific examples and utilize at least one scholarly resource to back your answer.

Answer =

10. Rank the following three scenarios in terms of having the most to least biodiversity and provide your rationale for these rankings.

· A vacant lot behind a car repair facility.

· A designated national wilderness area.

· A grassy strip along the highway.

Answer =


Any sources utilized should be listed here.

© eScience Labs, 2016

Lab 2 – Water Quality and Contamination

Experiment 1: Drinking Water Quality

Bottled water is a billion dollar industry in the United States. Still, few people know the health benefits, if any, that come from drinking bottled water as opposed to tap water. This experiment will look at the levels of a variety of different chemical compounds in both tap and bottled water to determine if there are health benefits in drinking bottled water.



1. Develop a hypothesis regarding which water sources you believe will contain the most and least contaminants, and state why you believe this. Be sure to clearly rank all three sources from most to least contaminants.

Hypothesis =

Table 1: Ammonia Test Results
Water Sample Test Results (mg/L)
Tap Water 0
Dasani® Bottled Water 0
Fiji® Bottled Water 0

Table 2: Chloride Test Results
Water Sample Test Results (mg/L)
Tap Water 0
Dasani® Bottled Water 0
Fiji® Bottled Water 0

Table 3: 4 in 1 Test Results
Water Sample Total Alkalinity


Total Chlorine


Total Hardness


Tap Water 40 4.0 50
Dasani® Bottled Water 40 4.0 40
Fiji® Bottled Water 40 4.0 0

Table 4: Phosphate Test Results
Water Sample Test Results (ppm)
Tap Water 25
Dasani® Bottled Water 5
Fiji® Bottled Water 100

Table 5: Iron Test Results
Water Sample Test Results (ppm)
Tap Water 0
Dasani® Bottled Water 0
Fiji® Bottled Water 0

Table 6: pH Results
Water Sample Test Results
Tap Water 6
Dasani® Bottled Water 6
Fiji® Bottled Water 5

2. Based on the results of your experiment, would accept or reject the hypothesis you produced in question 1? Explain how you determined this.

Accept/reject =

3. Based on the results of your experiment, what specific differences do you notice among the Dasani®, Fiji®, and Tap Water?

Answer =

4. Based upon the fact sheets provided (links at the end of this document), do any of these samples pose a health concern? Use evidence from the lab to support your answer.

Answer =

5. Based on your results, do you believe that bottled water is worth the price? Use evidence from the lab to support your opinion.

Answer =

**NOTE: Be sure to complete steps 1 – 32 of Lab 3, Experiment 1 (the next lab) before the end of this week. Lab 3 involves planting seeds, and if the work is not started this week, your plants will not have time to grow and the lab will not be finished on time.**

FACT SHEETS: Please refer to these to answer Question 3. If you use information from any of these, don’t forget to cite and reference it in APA format in your lab. You are also welcome to use additional or alternative credible resources that you locate online if you wish.

Ammonia https://www.wqa.org/Portals/0/Technical/Technical%20Fact%20Sheets/2014_Ammonia.pdf














Any sources utilized should be listed here in APA format.

© eScience Labs, 2016


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