Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dissolved Oxygen Rap

by Megan Parker, Laurel County Water Pioneer

Dissolved oxygen's what we're talkin' about
we're testin' the water before it comes out the spout

Tap the cap to make sure there's no bubbles
'cause if there is you could be in big troubles!

Next add the drops of Manganous sulfate
but you better be careful, 'cause you only need eight

Add in the drops of Alkaline Potassium
it's gotta be clean before you can get some

Add in sulfuric acid and take a look,
you won't see this in a science book

You better watch out if the water is cloudy,
you might get sick--not feelin' so rowdy!

The Annotated Dissolved Oxygen Rap:
Megan wrote these lyrics to describe the process of testing a stream for its dissolved oxygen content. It's a demanding test, and the rap contains some helpful hints! The 2nd stanza (tap the cap to make sure there's no bubbles, 'cause if there is you could be in big troubles), for instance, contains one of the most important reminders: when you take the water sample, the bottle must be totally free of air bubbles, or else the test will be compromised.

By the way, there is a very important relationship between dissolved oxygen and entomology. Aquatic insects (like immature mayflies, stoneflies, and dragonflies) require lots of dissolved oxygen to breathe. The dissolved oxygen content frequently drops to lethal levels in wild streams, especially when trees are removed from streamside areas: trees provide shade which reduce water temperatures, and dissolved oxygen leaves the water at higher temps.

Kudos, again, to Megan, the queen of water-investigation hip-hop!

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