Front Entrance of Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center

RPSEC Environmental Science Award 2016

Ruth Patrick Science Education Center

Congratulations to Devon Bowler, Cameron Wilson, Kirill Khasanshin, Sam Dong, India King from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, Augusta, GA, recipients of the 2016 Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center Environmental Science Award.

The 2016 CSRA Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held on March 12 at USC Aiken. There were over 200 projects from CSRA schools displayed at the fair. Each year, the RPSEC presents an environmental science award in honor of Dr. Ruth Patrick. Dr. Patrick pioneered work in the study of fresh water ecosystems and developed methods for measuring the health of these systems.

Title of Project

"Water Chemistry"


The chemistry of water can be tested through a series of tests. Nebulosity is determined by the appearance of the sky and number of clouds. Dissolved Oxygen is the small amount of oxygen dissolved in water, which is breathed by fish and other aquatic animals and determines their survival. The higher the temperature, the less dissolved oxygen. The pH determines how acidic or basic a sample of water is. On a scale of 0-14, 0-6 being acidic, 8-14 being basic, with 7 being neutral. Water is considered to be the most common neutral liquid. Conductivity measures the ion concentration by measuring waters ability to conduct electricity A Secchi Disk is used to determine the turbidity of water. The Turbidity is how clear the water is. These tests are all determinants when it comes to what can and cannot survive in a body of water.

Several factors determine the qualitative factors of water such as Temperature, Oxygen levels, and pH. These factors also contribute to the overall chemistry and quality of the water. Water quality is a critical factor in deciding the health of an ecosystem. Several studies have been conducted concerning how water composition plays a part in all aquatic niches, and many point out that the health of fish is a major indicator of the quality of water. Qualitative measurements such as dissolved oxygen levels (DO), pH, and temperature are all elements to water’s environmental effects. Articles such as Oram’s (2014) states that the minimum amount of DO allowed for fish to survive is around 4 mg/l as anything below that most fish will die. Studies conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (2015) shows that oxygen levels are affected mainly by flow and temperature. The pH has a direct effect on the ability for plants to prosper Lovejoy (2015) and a research project conducted by the Grand Canyon monitoring and research center (2010) indicated a correlation between temperature and physical growth of fish and rate of successful fertilization. It concluded that a lukewarm temperature of 20 degrees Celsius is the optimal temperature for growth and successful fertilization for the hunchback chub, the species used in Lovejoy’s study. Rainbow Trout prefer a colder temperature range, about 13 degrees to 15 Celsius. (Root 1994).