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Bubbles in the Bay

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Push the button to start the bubbles. What can you see happening?

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Have you ever looked out across Cardiff Bay and noticed lots of bubbles collecting at the surface?

Cardiff bay has a problem with oxygen not getting through to deeper levels of water, it sits on the surface. This can be dangerous for the diverse ecosystem of the bay, as animals living deeper in the water will not be able to access much oxygen. The bubbles show how we can spread out the oxygen (here little blue tabs) in the water.

What’s going on?

Those tiny bubbles are all thanks to a system of pipes than run along the bottom of the Bay basin. The bubbles create an aeration system, mixing the dissolved oxygen that can gather at the surface of the Bay.

Why is it important?

We need oxygen to breathe and fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants are no different! While we receive oxygen from the air around us, aquatic organisms rely on oxygen dissolved in the water. Oxygen levels are often higher at the water’s surface and this can cause "dead zones" to form at deeper water levels, where life can be limited due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. By mixing the water, oxygen is spread throughout the water- this means that even the deepest parts of the bay will receive oxygen! This ensures that animals and plants at all levels of the water receive enough nutrients to grow and thrive in Cardiff Bay’s underwater environment.

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Welcome to Look Closer, Techniquest's brand new digital tool. We're trialling Look Closer as a way of offering you a closer look at the science demonstrated by many of our exhibits. You'll find visitor sheets, videos, articles on contemporary science as well as fun trails to navigate your way around the exhibition space.

Speak to our Science Communicators to find out more.