Presentation on theme: "Our study is important because with all of the coal emissions, the wildlife is being affected by the constant dump of mercury into the waters. We analyzed."— Presentation transcript:
Our study is important because with all of the coal emissions, the wildlife is being affected by the constant dump of mercury into the waters. We analyzed the amount of mercury in dragonfly larvae that are in national parks in states where there are coal fired plants. The states that the information is coming from are Maine, Florida, Kentucky, Washington, and Colorado. We picked states from different regions so we can get the information of how the mercury is affecting dragonflies. Mercury is a heavy silvery metal that is a liquid in room temperature. It has an atomic number of 80 on the periodic table and its symbol is Hg. The element expands evenly when heated or cooled. It stays a liquid in a lot of different temperatures and has the ability to conduct electricity. Mercury is released in the air mainly by coal powered plants because of the smoke released from the factory. Mercury is poisonous to anything living; high amounts of it can kill you. (Mercury) Mercury drastically affects organisms because mercury is a heavy metal and accumulates over time, the body does not filter mercury so when it is accumulated, it stays in the body which affects the ability to function, think, and control the body. (Health) There are two ways mercury can get into the water for the dragonflies to consume. There is dry deposition and wet deposition. Dry deposition is when the coal plant releases the smoke and the smoke falls on the top of the water which floats down to the sediment were it is changed into methylmercury and dragonfly larvae can consume it. Wet deposition is when the smoke from the coal fired plant gets released in the air and goes into the clouds. When it rains, the mercury gets in the rain and the rain gets in the water like lakes and seas. 1) We gathered data that had been collected by students across the country measuring the amount of mercury that is found in dragonfly larvae. 2) Then this data was sent to the University of Maine for processing and measuring in ppb dry weight. 3) Then the group searched for some background data on; What is mercury? What can it do to organisms? How does burning coal affect mercury levels? 4) Then in our groups we listed the data we collected into a excel program to get the averages, and compare them state by state.The data came from National Parks in Maine, Washington, Kentucky, Florida, and Colorado.It was taken from multiple sites within each National Park. 5) Then we put them into a graph and analyzed the data. We would like to thank the students who collected the dragonfly nymphs. Thank you to the University of Maine and Dartmouth College for processing the organisms. Thank you to the National Park Service for allowing this project to happen. Thank you to Ms. Stainton and Ms. Cramer for your support. The purpose of this experiment was see how emissions from coal burning power plants affect mercury levels in dragonfly larvae. The hypothesis we made stated that if we compare the amount of power generated from coal in a state to the amount of mercury in dragonfly larvae, then states with more power plants will have more mercury because of the increased emissions that get released from the power plants. According to the graph, Washington had the second least amount of power generated by coal (5,229 gwh) but actually had the least amount of if mercury concentration of 41.17 ppb. Kentucky had the most amount of power generated by coal (91,656 gwh) which was 40,000 more than any other state and still had the second least amount of mercury concentration of 124.51. Florida was the only piece of data that wasn’t surprising, its power generated by coal was (51,991 gwh) and also had the second highest mercury concentration with the amount of 206.12 ppb. Finally, Colorado had a power generated by coal amount of (22,955 gwh) which was in the middle but also had the most amount of mercury concentration with an amount of 218.07 ppb. This data shows that our hypothesis wasn’t supported because we thought that with more power generation then there would be a higher concentration of mercury. Actually the data did not have a pattern and just fluctuated. It is possible that many other factors are affecting the mercury levels in dragonfly larvae. Some states have more land area than others that the mercury would have to travel over to be deposited. Also, mercury might be deposited in the mountains of Colorado because of the elevation. Mercury travels through the air and is moved around by weather patterns like wind and rain which could affect the concentration of mercury as well. Some ways we could improve this experiment is by collecting more data for each state, instead of having the amount of data varying from 10 data points to 50. Also another way we could improve it is by not just having one year of data but by having multiple years of the same state’s data. The last way we could improve this experiment is if we were able to find the number of power plants in each state. We looked for this information originally but could not find it. Overall we found that the amount of power generated by coal did not determine the concentration of mercury in dragonfly nymphs. “Mercury (element)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. "Existing U.S. Coal Plants." - SourceWatch. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike, 28 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013 "Existing U.S. Coal Plants." - SourceWatch. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike, 28 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013 "Mercury in the Environment." Mercury in the Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013 "Mercury from Power Plants." Environmental Defense Fund. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. "NRDC: Mercury Contamination in Fish - Know Where It's Coming From." NRDC: Mercury Contamination in Fish - Know Where It's Coming From. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. "Citizen Scientists Study Mercury in Dragonfly Larvae." NPS: Explore Nature » Air Resources » Studies » Air Toxics. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. "Mercury Poisoning." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. "Existing U.S. Coal Plants." - SourceWatch. N.p., 16 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Dec. 2013 "Citizen Scientists Study Mercury in Dragonfly Larvae." NPS: Explore Nature » Air Resources » Studies » Air Toxics. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013 "Burning Coal, Burning Cash (2010)." Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. Dragonfly Mercury Concentration in Various States Ranging from Least to Most Power Produced by Coal Burning Power Plants If we compare the amount of power generated by coal in a state to the amount of mercury in dragonflies, then states with more power generated from coal will have more mercury because of the increased emissions that get released from the increasing emissions from power plants.
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