Isp 217l

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Water and the Environment Laboratory ISP 217L Spring 2011 Laboratory Manual*

Table of Contents
Exercise Lab 1. How much does temperature vary in large and small aquatic environments? Lab 2. What determines the water clarity of lakes, rivers and oceans? Lab 3. Where does the phosphorus go? Lab 4. How does human activity in watersheds affect the quality of lakes and rivers? Lab 5. Are the Great Lakes being influenced by the global greenhouse effect? Lab 6. How is the flow of the Red Cedar River influenced by the weather? Lab 7. What is the relationship between flow and turbidity in the Red Cedar River? Page 2 4 6 8 12 15 18

* Note that the Excel Manual is a separate booklet.

Revised 12/10 JDW

ISP217L Laboratory Manual Spring 2011

Page 1

Lab 1 How much does temperature vary in large and small aquatic environments? Introduction One of the most important physical properties of water, with respect to aquatic environments, is specific heat. Water has a high specific heat, which means that it takes a relatively large amount of energy to raise the temperature of water, much more energy than is needed to raise air temperature by the same amount. This physical property has consequences for the amount of temperature variation we might expect in and around aquatic environments. The central question of interest in this exercise is how the size of an aquatic habitat influences the degree of temperature variation within it. Objectives After completing this lab, you should be able to calculate the mean (average) and standard deviation of a range of data in a spreadsheet, and make plots of temperature over time. You should also gain a hands-on appreciation for how temperature varies in water versus air, and in large versus small volumes of water. Ultimately, we hope you will gain a better understanding of how large bodies of water influence the climate of nearby regions. Tools The Lab 1 exercise will span two weeks; it is important to keep in mind that both weeks’ explorations must be included in the Lab 1 Report. During the first week of the lab, your group will perform a small-scale exercise using miniature bodies of water (cups, buckets, etc.) to determine how water bodies of different size change in temperature over time. In this case you will start with tap water from the sink and monitor the temperatures of each of the containers after you fill them. In science, we describe the size of objects in metric units (meters, liters, etc.), so your group will need to decide how you want to measure your containers or the amount of water in the containers. After some period of time measuring temperature, you should discover a relationship between how fast the water temperature changes compared to the size of the container. In week 2 (at the computer lab), you will apply what you learned from the small-scale exercise to help you interpret temperature data from larger aquatic environments collected during a previous semester. Temperature loggers (devices that record temperatures every hour for days at a time) were placed in 5 different environments: 1) bucket 15 liters 2) garbage can 200 liters 3) 2.5 m diameter tank 5000 liters 4) Red Cedar River 5) open air The data have been downloaded from the loggers and are contained in a spreadsheet file that you will download from the course website on Angel. To analyze these data you should first graph each series of data using the spreadsheet program Excel (available on all MSU computers). We will go over how to make graphs together in class. From what you learned from the small-scale exercise, you should have a qualitative idea about how the size of a water body affects the amount of temperature variation within it. But can you ISP217L Laboratory Manual Spring 2011 Page 2

describe this pattern quantitatively (i. e., with numbers)? You can express a change in temperature as a rate (degrees per unit of time) and you can describe how much temperature varies over time using a...
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