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Publication #Cir109

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management—Oxygen and Temperature1


In the aquatic environment, oxygen and temperature are so closely linked that it's nearly impossible to discuss one without the other. That's why we've presented the information together under one cover:

  • Part 1 describes how oxygen enters water and how it is measured;

  • Part 2 delves into the physical properties of water (e.g., forms of water, density of water, etc.) and the influence that temperature has on these characteristics;

  • Part 3 ties it all together with information on how oxygen and temperature affect plants and animals within freshwater habitats;

  • Part 4 provides technical information about methods used to obtain oxygen and temperature measurements in water.

Note: While many of the concepts described in this publication are similar for the saltwater environment, this circular is limited to discussion about freshwater systems. 28 pages.

Keywords: air temperature, algae, altitude, aquatic plants, bacterial community, biological productivity, blue tilapia, calorie, chemical analysis, cold monomictic, cold-water fish, correction factor, diel oxygen curve, diffusion, dimictic, dissolved organic matter, dissolved oxygen, DO, electronic DO meter, epilimnion, eutrophic, fish kills, forms of water, growth rater, heat of evaporation, heat of fusion, heat, humidity, hypereutrophic, hypolimnion, ice, lake turnover, largemouth bass, liquid, mesotrophic, metabolic rate, metalimnion, thermocline, monitoring, monomictic, oligotrophic, oxygen saturation, oxygen, particulate organic matter, percent oxygen saturation, phase change, photosynthesis, polymictic, reproduction, respiration, saltwater stratification, specific heat, supersaturated, temperature, thermal stratification, thermal, warm monomictic, warm-water fish, water density, water temperature

Note: Circular 109 is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) only. It can be obtained as a single PDF file by clicking on the "Printer Friendly Version" link above (file size = 2 MB).

Photos used with permission as credited.



This document, CIR109, is the ninth of a series of information circulars dedicated to familiarizing citizens with the language and techniques used in water management. © June 2004. 1st Edition. Reviewed by Mark Hoyer January 2017. Printed copies are available through the UF/IFAS Extension EDIS website ( and also from the Florida LAKEWATCH website: However, they may also be downloaded by visiting the EDIS website at or the Florida LAKEWATCH website at Readability grade level: 12.0.


Florida LAKEWATCH (FLW) is a research and public outreach program coordinated within the UF/IFAS Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. FLW facilitates public involvement in the management of Florida waters by training citizen volunteers to collect monthly water samples, algae samples, and water clarity data from a lake or waterbody of their choice. Over time, this information is used to document nutrient levels and/or to predict biological productivity. For more information about the program or to obtain FLW data, call 1-800-LAKEWATch (1-800-525-3928) or view the website at

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.