eu·​tro·​phi·​ca·​tion | \ yü-ˌtrō-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce eutrophication (audio) , ˌyü-trə-fə- \

Definition of eutrophication

: the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (such as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen

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Eutrophication Has Greek Roots

Eutrophication, which comes from the Greek eutrophos, "well-nourished", has become a major environmental problem. Nitrates and phosphates, especially from lawn fertilizers, run off the land into rivers and lakes, promoting the growth of algae and other plant life, which take oxygen from the water, causing the death of fish and mollusks. Cow manure, agricultural fertilizer, detergents, and human waste are often to blame as well. In the 1960s and '70s, the eutrophication of Lake Erie advanced so extremely that it became known as the "dead lake". And many areas of the oceans worldwide—some more than 20,000 square miles in extent—have become "dead zones", where almost no life of any kind exists.

Examples of eutrophication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But studies have shown that eutrophication reduces the abundance of Atlantic croaker and affects the price of shrimp; both are important commercial species. Sarah Kaplan, Twin Cities, "‘A major punch in the gut’: Midwest rains projected to create Gulf dead zone," 11 June 2019 The decay process of algae uses up the oxygen in a process called eutrophication, Levin said. Sydney Pereira, Newsweek, "Oxygen Is Disappearing From the World's Oceans at an Alarmingly Rapid Pace," 5 Jan. 2018 If the phytoplankton blooms are too large, this can lead to eutrophication, when oxygen is lost from the water and kills marine life. Elizabeth Howell Contributor, Fox News, "Tiny organisms turn the Black Sea turquoise in amazing NASA picture," 15 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eutrophication.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of eutrophication

1946, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for eutrophication

Time Traveler

The first known use of eutrophication was in 1946

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Cite this Entry

“Eutrophication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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