A large number of fish are suddenly found floating dead on a lake. There is no evidence of toxic dumping but you find an abundance of phytoplankton. Suggest a reason for the fish kill.
The amount of dissolved oxygen present in water is limited. The abundance of phytoplanktons causes depletion of this dissolved oxygen. This is because, phytoplanktons are degraded by bacteria present in water. For their decomposition, they require a large amount of oxygen. Hence, they consume the oxygen dissolved in water. As a result, the BOD level of water drops below 6 ppm, inhibiting the growth of fish and causing excessive fish-kill.
Excessive phytoplankton (organic pollutants such as leaves, grass trash etc.) present in water are biodegradable. Bacteria decomposes these organic matters in water. During this process when large number of bacteria decomposes these organic matters, they-consume the dissolved oxygen in water. When the level of dissolved oxygen falls below 6 ppm the fish cannot survive.