What is Dissolved Oxygen?
Dissolved oxygen refers to the level of free, non-compound oxygen present in water or other liquids. It is an important parameter in assessing water quality because of its influence on the organisms living within a body of water. In limnology (the study of lakes), dissolved oxygen is an essential factor second only to water itself ¹. A dissolved oxygen level that is too high or too low can harm aquatic life and affect water quality.
Non-compound oxygen, or free oxygen (O2), is oxygen that is not bonded to any other element. Dissolved oxygen is the presence of these free O2 molecules within water.The bonded oxygen molecule in water (H2O) is in a compound and does not count toward dissolved oxygen levels. One can imagine that free oxygen molecules dissolve in water much the way salt or sugar does when it is stirred