Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Advisor

Scott, Thad

Reader

Wood, Lisa

Second Reader

Rom, Curt

Abstract

The effect of N and P availability on macrophyte and algal growth has been extensively documented. The same is true for research regarding competition between wetland macrophytes. However, there is considerably less research focusing exclusively on how nutrient competition between algae and wetland macrophytes affects the growth of these plants. This study examined the relationship between nutrient concentrations (N and P), algal concentrations, and the growth of Juncus effusus, or soft rush. Juncus effusus growth in the Lake Fayetteville Spiral Wetland was monitored over a four month period during the prime growing season. Towards the end of the growing season, 18 plants were taken from the wetland and replanted in 1 of 6 treatments: ‘plant-only’, ‘algae-only’, ‘combined’, ‘plant-only +supplement’, ‘algae-only +supplement’, or ‘combined +supplement’. The algae and combined environments received an inoculation of algae, and the +supplement treatments received an infusion of an N and a P supplement. An ANOVA test was conducted using SAS to determine the presence of a significant relationship between Juncus effusus growth, nutrient concentrations, and/or algal growth. No significant relationship existed between Juncus effusus and nutrient concentrations or between Juncus effusus and algal concentrations. There was a significant relationship between algal growth and the presence of Juncus effusus, which produced an additive effect causing the greatest algal growth in the ‘combined +supplement’ treatment. Results indicate that nutrient competition between Juncus effusus and algae in the Lake Fayetteville Spiral Wetland is not the limiting factor in Juncus effusus growth in the wetland. Algae in the lake may be able to photosynthesize longer into the year due to light limitations imposed by the Spiral Wetland delaying the rate of non-photochemical quenching in algae.

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