What is Eutrophication? – Classification, Causes, Effects

This is one of the essential topics or chapters one must learn, especially in Biology subject, as it involves an abundance of growth in various types of plants around water bodies, due to the over-availability of enriched nutrients. If you are one of those students who are currently going through this topic, then you are in the right place. As here in the article below, we will provide a comprehensive description, of the Process of Eutrophication, the Causes of Eutrophication, and Effects of Eutrophication, and many more. 

What is Eutrophication?

As stated above, Eutrophication is defined as the process of the abundance of growth of various types of plants, around small or large water bodies, which are highly enriched in multiple essential nutrients. However, eutrophication can only be observed or found out, when the said water bodies are covered with excessive algae or plankton depending on the type of water body.  

What is Eutrophication? - Classification, Causes, Effects

Although it helps in the growth of plants surrounding the waterbody, it is generally regarded as an environmental concern. Mainly because, Eutrophication, causes the quality of the water to deplete very quickly, as the dissolved oxygen in the water is also depleted. Thus, after some time, these water bodies will become unable to support life, and so they cannot be used for any other purposes. 

Eutrophication Classification

Firstly, Eutrophication is mainly classified into two types, mainly by taking into account the root cause of eutrophication.  

Natural Eutrophication

As you can understand from the title itself, this type of Eutrophication occurs due to natural reasons. For instance, floods, cause nutrients from different places to get washed up together accumulating in another water body. However, Natural Eutrophication is a very slow process, and most of the time, it directly depends on the temperature of the surroundings. Although, due to extreme temperature rises, and natural disasters, Natural Eutrophication has been more commonly observed across the world. 

Anthropogenic Eutrophication

Unlike Natural Eutrophication, this type of Eutrophication occurs because of human activities. For example, out in the agriculture fields, humans use various types of Fertilizers. Over time, these fertilizers make their way into groundwater or other water bodies on the surface. Thus, with the fertilizers, the nutrients added to the water bodies also increase, which in turn will lead to an increase in algae as well as plankton. Therefore, the quality of the water is slowly depleted. Furthermore, this type of Eutrophication process is further increasing the rate of eutrophication, making more and more water bodies unusable. 

Causes of Eutrophication

Now that we have learned about the Eutrophication process, Eutrophication examples, and its classification in detail. Let us now talk about the various causes of Eutrophication. There are various causes for Eutrophication, both natural as well as human-made, such as,  

  • Generally, in big cities, untreated sewage is often neglected, and in the end, it gets mixed with large water bodies like rivers and lakes, which in turn cause Eutrophication, and kill all the available plant and animal life in the said body. 
  • Next, as explained above, the fertilizers, as well as infect Repeller added to the agriculture fields, also contribute to the Eutrophication process. 
  • One of the major causes of Eutrophication currently, especially in regard to Anthropogenic Eutrophication is an industrial discharge of wastes. Moreover, industrial wastage, also causes many harmful chemicals getting mixed up with water bodies. 
  • Besides, the detergents which we generally use for washing clothes, are also popular contributors to Eutrophication. 
  • And lastly, natural disasters like flooding, extreme rainfall, etc also contribute actively to the process of Eutrophication. 

Eutrophication Effects

From the above description, as you already know, the Eutrophication process has various different effects, on the surroundings as well as ecosystems. Effects such as,  

Decrease in Bio-Diversity

The water bodies especially in regions closer to cities or nearby human settlements, often end up getting affected by Eutrophication. And as a result, the rich biodiversity of plants and animals in the water body will get affected, as flora and Fawna will find it hard to survive here in these conditions. And not just that, Eutrophication also affects the surroundings of the water bodies, which dissolve because of the pollutants or the algae present in the surroundings of water bodies, thus the diversity here will also get affected.

Increase of Invasive Species

As the resident species in the water bodies get affected, they have lesser chances of survival. And with the food chain in the water bodies disturbed, the invasion of other species that are suitable to endure the difficult conditions in the water, rapidly grows. Further reducing the number of resident species survival, which in turn will have a devastating impact on the ecosystem, totally affecting the food chain, as many species of flora and fauna will become endangered.  

Polluted Contents

One of the major effects of Eutrophication is that it generally causes, the number of polluted contents in water bodies to rise rapidly. With these, all the species in the water body will face extinction, both invasive as well as resident species. Furthermore, humans cannot use this water, as they can get affected by various types of harmful or severe diseases. Besides, cleaning polluted contents from a water body is far more expensive and a very long process, unlike any other Eutrophication process.  


In the above article, we have explained in detail the Eutrophication Diagram, Causes of Eutrophication, Effects of Eutrophication, etc. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, or any other chapter in biology. Or similarly, if you have doubts about any other subjects such as Physics and Chemistry. In that case, we suggest you join the Online Interactive Classes offered by the Tutoroot platform, as they offer various unique benefits. To learn more please visit the Tutoroot platform.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is natural eutrophication? 

As already explained above, it is defined as a process, which involves the accumulation of a large number of nutrients in a particular water body. Which in turn will lead to the overgrowth of plants and animals in the said body slowly, before the quality of water gets depleted.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.