Young scientists complete research into lagoon water

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Tomahawk lagoon’s water quality has been put under the microscope for the final time this year by a group of secondary school scientists.

About 40 pupils from John McGlashan College, Tahuna Normal Intermediate, Otago Girls’ High School and Bayfield High School have spent the year testing the lagoon, and completed the final monitoring day last week.

Ecotago scientist Andrew Innes said there was a bit of pressure to get everything done quickly so the reports could be completed, and it was the second time they had used the domain hall as the laboratory.

“Everyone could stay in the one place and do most of the analysis there, so we were quite pleased with that.”

Pupils made “general environmental observations”, gathered information about the water, and collected water to analyse for nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorophyll a, and E. coli

They also looked at the biodiversity of the bugs in the water.

“What we’ve found out is the sort of bugs in the upper lagoon are so different from the bugs in the bottom lagoon.”

Mr Innes said it provided them with lots of good information, but also a lot of questions.

The pupils will present their information on Saturday.

The group has secured funding from the Otago Regional Council’s ECO Fund for next year.

Mr Innes said they hoped to start investigating the lagoon catchments.

“So we’re really thrilled about that and it does make the whole job easier.”