Today, the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory contains eight 22-m artificial streams that can used as a flow-through or recycling system. A unique capability of these streams is their use with radiotracers, such as P-32, to investigate the transport of nutrients through various compartments of a simple ecosystem (e.g., water, algae, snails). Past radiotracer experiments have also included studies of the effectiveness of biofilms in the uptake of selected heavy metals. In addition to the streams, numerous fiberglas tanks, ranging from circular 750-L holding tanks to 1.2-m long X 55-cm wide X 30-cm deep Living Streams R are used for experimental purposes. The experiments can be conducted using either spring water or dechlorinated process water at varying flow rates and temperatures. Current experiments include tests of the effects of turbulence on behavioral responses of fish and their susceptibility to increased rates of predation.
Other features of the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory include the Toxicology Laboratory, which is now dedicated to testing the toxicity of the effluents discharged from local DOE facilities and of the streams receiving those effluents.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy