Featured in PASCO’s College Biology Instructor Guide

College Biology Instructor Guide


College Instructor edition with 26 experiments covering introductory and general biology topics.

Dissolved Oxygen

Lab Summary

Use a temperature probe and a water quality sensor to measure the effects of temperature on the dissolved oxygen concentration of water. Use a dissolved oxygen sensor to measure the effects of light intensity on the photosynthetic activity of algae.


In this lab, students will determine the primary production of an aquatic cell culture system. Students will:

  • Explore the effect of temperature on the concentration of dissolved oxygen.
  • Explore the primary productivity of Chlorella algae cultures as revealed from changing dissolved oxygen concentrations.
  • Investigate the effects of changing light intensity on primary productivity of Chlorella in a controlled experiment.


  • Dissolved Oxygen and Primary Productivity - Student Version (324 KB – PDF)
  • Dissolved Oxygen and Primary Productivity - Teacher Version (376 KB – PDF)
  • Method

    Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

    • Measuring and analyzing the dissolved oxygen concentration in water samples of varying temperatures.
    • Measuring the concentration of dissolved oxygen of algae cultures incubated in the aquatic productivity bottles, which are designed to simulate the decrease of light with increasing depth.
    • Using the concentration of dissolved oxygen to calculate net productivity, gross productivity, and respiration rate.

    Sensors / Equipment Used:

    PASPORT Water Quality Sensor


    Measures temperature, conductivity, pH/ISE/ORP and dissolved oxygen. It is specifically designed for convenience in conducting water quality lab experiments. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

    Aquatic Productivity Bottles


    This rack filters 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of incident light to simplify the study of primary productivity. Includes set of 5 transparent plastic bottles.

    Materials Used:

    Beaker, 250-mL - 3
    Chlorella (or other green algae) culture - 1500 mL
    Fluorescent light source 
    Ice water - 200 mL
    Large vessel, 1500 to 2000-mL 
    Room temperature water - 200 mL
    Warm water - 200 mL
    Wash bottle 
    Wax pencil or stickers and labeling marker

    The Associated Bundle:

    College Biology Bundle


    A complete probeware bundle designed for PASCO's College Biology curriculum

    Interface Required

    This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.