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Vocabulary Term Details


Definition (

Phosphorus is a chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms—white phosphorus and red phosphorus—but due to its high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth. (Wikipedia) Phosphorus is probably the most studied plant nutrient in freshwater aquatic sciences. It is often found to be (and more often inferred as) the nutrient that limits the growth and biomass of algae in lakes and reservoirs. Whether this nutrient is as universally limiting as once believed is debatable, but certainly there is substantial evidence of its importance in many lakes. Numerous correlations and regressions have been constructed linking phosphorus, especially total phosphorus, with variables such as algal chlorophyll, algal weight, and productivity. Because of its possible importance in limiting the growth and biomass of algae and because of the numerous empirical models available for phosphorus, it is an important addition to the list of variables to be measured in volunteer programs. (Secchidipin)

Preferred Units: N/A

Scope Note:

Broader TermsNarrower TermsRelated Terms
Dissolved phosphorus
Inorganic phosphorus
Organic phosphorus
Particulate phosphorus
Phosphate phosphorus
Reactive phosphorus
Soluble phosphorus
Organophosphorus compounds
Total phosphorus

This term is used for the following terms: 

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