Can someone here explain BOD in a straightforward way? Thanks
The wiki entry does a pretty good job of explaining.
So decomposers need oxygen to break down organic material. Biological oxygen demand is the amount of dissolved oxygen that the organisms in a certain amount of water, at a certain temperature, need in order to break down the organic material that's in that certain water sample.
It's important because this microbial metabolism (the breakdown of organic material by the decomposers for food) often depletes the oxygen in the water faster than it can be replenished. Organisms that are less tolerant of low oxygen levels can die off.
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Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry