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How does temperature affect the health of organisms in the water?

Temperature can affect an organism's resistance to disease, parasites, and toxic waste. Environmental temperatures that are lower or higher than normal can make an organism more sensitive to pollutants and diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Fish and other organisms that are exposed to altered environmental conditions (e.g. temperature or amounts of dissolved oxygen) are referred to as being stressed.  When fish and other organisms are stressed they may not be as healthy or live as long.  

Icy water + waste water discharge = stressful conditions Wastewater dumping into lake during winter

 

Fish respond to changes in temperature just like we do.  If we are too hot or too cold, we get uncomfortable.  If we are too hot or too cold for too long a time, it can affect our health!  

Let's observe how the goldfish might react to extreme temperatures.  The goldfish (shown below) is in a bowl containing water at just the "right" temperature.  Click on the bowl to heat and then cool the water and watch how the goldfish reacts.  

Goldfish in bowl (animation)

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