4. What can we learn about Narragansett Bay by measuring pH?
The pH is an important water quality indicator. Low pH can result during hypoxic and anoxic conditions. In addition to the stress to organisms from low oxygen, low pH will also damage living organisms. Many species have trouble surviving if the pH drops below 5.0.
The pH of the water plays an important role in determining the solubility (how much can be dissolved in water) of many chemicals. The pH of water can also determine the bioavailability (how much can be used by organisms) of many chemicals. The chemicals can be nutrients necessary for life or pollutants that can poison living organisms. For example, many metals are more toxic at a lower pH because they are more soluble.