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What Does Oligotrophic Mean?

The term oligotrophic is used in the context of ecology to describe an environment in which there are extremely low levels of nutrients. Such environments can support little life.

Safeopedia Explains Oligotrophic

The suffix trophic refers to growth, thus a eutrophic lake has a high concentration of nutrients and plentiful plant and algae growth and is the opposite of an oligotrophic lake. Oligotrophic lakes will have a low concentration of living organisms and the water contains a high level of dissolved oxygen since there are few organisms using oxygen for respiration. Nutrient levels, climate and the shape of a lake basin itself determine the trophic state of a lake. Due to the low concentration of plants and algae, oligotrophic waters are usually very clear while eutrophic waters will appear murky. Organisms that tolerate oligotrophic conditions are known as oligotrophs.


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