Nitrogen from fertizilizer and car exhaust that’s lofted into the air and then lands in the once-pristine lakes of Rocky Mountain National Park is creating junk food for fish.
“It’s like eating marshmallows all day and expecting to grow. You can’t do it,” James Elser, a professor at Arizona State University and the study’s lead author, told the Associated Press.
Nitrogen deposition is not a new problem, but the new study shows that the effects may be worse than scientists thought.
More nitrogen can reduce long-term lake biodiversity because algae become poor food for other microscopic organisms and, ultimately, fish. The algae are high in nitrogen, but low in phosphorous and less nutritious.
Previous studies have documented rising nitrogen levels in Rocky Mountain National Park, 70 miles northwest of Denver. … Read more
From the New York Times, a cool story on some adventurous energy entrepreneurs working on carbon-reducing algae fuel:
With the twin goals of making fuel from algae and reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, a start-up company co-founded by a Colorado State University professor recently introduced a strain of algae that loves carbon dioxide into a water tank next to a natural gas processing plant. The water is already green-tinged with life.
The Southern Utes, one of the nation’s wealthiest American Indian communities thanks to its energy and real-estate investments, is a major investor in the professor’s company. It hopes to gain a toehold in what tribal leaders believe could be the next billion-dollar energy boom.