Aquatic plants and their influencing factors
Student(s):Nadie Grotentraast Jorne Kempenaers Leo Fanseda Marieke Koerhuis Fleur Nederlof
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Teacher:Ivo Langes
Report Type(s):Standard Research Report
Protocols:Nitrates, Water Temperature, Water Transparency
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River ecosystems play a crucial role in the environment, and it is therefore essential that the nutrient
concentrations in rivers are adequate for aquatic plant growth. By studying the water transparency,
nitrate and phosphorus concentrations, and investigating the presence of aquatic plant cells in the
rivers Berkel and IJssel, the influence of water transparency and the aforementioned essential
nutrients on the growth of aquatic plants was studied. The experiments were performed in the IJssel
river, a river with strong current, as well as in the river Berkel, which is calmer.
The goal of the research was to investigate which of the factors have the most influence on plant
growth. Water transparency was measured using a Secchi disk and water samples were collected
from both rivers in order to research the level of nitrate and phosphorus using test kits, and the
amount of aquatic plant cells using the Telkamer of Bürker Türk method. The weather and
environment at the study sites were also accurately observed.
In the Berkel river, when the phosphorus and nitrogen levels dropped, so did the amount of plant
cells. However, in the IJssel river, when the concentration of phosphorus dropped, the amount of
plant cells rose. There was no visible connection with the nitrogen levels. Due to these contradicting
results, no conclusion was drawn.
Although our research was inconclusive, it provides a significant starting point for future studies and
gives insight into the influence of nutrient concentrations and water transparency on the presence of
aquatic plants in the IJssel and Berkel. To confirm the results obtained, future research is needed
over a longer period of time and using standardised and more accurate methods. Furthermore,
research could be done to investigate the cause of contradicting results.
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