Albright, Sally (School: Imagine International Academy of North Texas)
Raines, Allison (School: Imagine International Academy of North Texas)
We investigated how pollution of ethylene glycol, commonly known as antifreeze, affects the respiratory system of Crassostrea virginica (Eastern Oyster), a keystone species of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. We set up 10 buckets containing 16 L of bay water, an aerator, 20 mL of algae, and one 7.62 cm oyster. The experimental group had 20 mg/L of ethylene glycol. We used a logger device and a turbidity light sensor to measure the starting and ending NTU after 24 hours. A colorimetric oxygen kit measured the starting and ending dissolved oxygen levels (mg/L). For the control group, the average decrease in turbidity was 0.5 NTU. However, the group containing 20 mg/L of ethylene glycol had an average decrease of .2 NTU, significantly lower. A two-sample t-test on the turbidity data gave us a p-value of .0001. This test shows the significance of our data in comparison to the control. A p-value below .05 is significant. Additionally, the control group had a 4.4 mg/L average decline in the oxygen level. The group treated with 20 mg/L of Ethylene Glycol had an average decline of 2.4 mg/L. A two-sample t-test on the dissolved oxygen data also gave us a p-value of .0001. Data revealed water with ethylene glycol had a slower decline in turbidity and dissolved oxygen on average. This suggests ethylene glycol slows the speed of the filter-feeding process and reduces the oyster’s ability to acquire dissolved oxygen. Therefore, ethylene glycol pollution could reduce oyster populations and could indirectly increase water pollution.
Intel Foundation Cultural and Scientific Visit to China Award
First Award of $5,000