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TerrAqua Column - What is the Land-Water Connection?


What common substance falls from the atmosphere, flows through our bodies, runs through the soil beneath our feet, collects in puddles and lakes, then vaporizes back into the atmosphere in a never-ending cycle?

Water, as it cycles between land, ocean and atmosphere, forms the major link between the terrestrial world (involving anything living on the earth) and the aquatic world (involving anything living on or in the water).

Water drips off rooftops, flows over roads, off your toothbrush, and down the drain, percolates through the soils of fields and forests and eventually finds its way into rivers, lakes and oceans.

During its journey, water will pick up leaf litter, soil, nutrients, agricultural chemicals, road salts and gasoline from cars, all of which have profound impacts on life in aquatic systems. Water can also be filtered or purified as it percolates through soil.

The TerrAqua Column provides you with a model to explore the link between land and water. The model has three basic components: soil, water and plants.

By varying the treatment of just one of these components you can explore how one variable can affect the whole system. How does salt affect the growth of plants? How does adding fertilizer to the soil affect algal growth in the water chamber? What type of soil best purifies water?

Experimentation with the TerrAqua Column is practically unlimited. You can define a question, and then design your experiment to explore it.

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National Science Foundation   Bottle Biology, an instructional materials development program, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Wisconsin Fast Plants