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Studies of the Firehole River show that the best temperature for algae to thrive doesn’t change with the seasons. Rather, it remains close to the maximum temperature of a particular location during its warmest time of year.

So what?

Most of the time algae in the Firehole are not growing under the best possible conditions because the river is only at its warmest temperature in late summer. However, once the river reaches its maximum temperature, the algae immediately begins to grow faster.

This may help us predict the effects of thermal pollution on a stream. Imagine that on the coldest day of the winter, the temperature of a river in Indiana becomes hotter because some of its water is used to cool a power plant. Based on the observation I just mentioned on the Firehole River algae, what would you expect to happen to the algae in our Indiana stream?

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Cast of characters - Maya Crowbes, Dr. A Beadle, Gray Fischer, Viola DeRama
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Q: What is the best temperature for algae to thrive in a particular place?