The goal of my experiment was to analyze the affect different plants have on the nutrients existing in the soil surrounding these plants. My original hypothesis was that soil that is in a close proximity to plants that have a higher biomass yield would have low levels of nutrients and that soil that had a lower biomass yield would have higher nutrient levels, but that generally, there would be little difference in nutrient levels. I thought this because of an article that I researched, Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, by Sharon Cornwall explains “no one ever fertilized an old growth forest where plants flourish because the natural soil food web is intact” (Cornwall). This quote explains that most plants create a micro ecosystem that allows plants to flourish.
I did tests that indicated that as a plant reaches a higher biomass density, that the amount of nutrients remaining in the soil is decreased. This was shown through a incredibly low amount of nutrients remaining in the coniferous plant, most likely caused by its year round use of nutrients and dense biomass. The grass, on the contrary, had the least amount of biomass and the greatest amount of nutrients in it’s soil.
This research has implications concerning eutrophication, as it is known that the high level of nutrients that cause algae blooms cause a large amount of biomass to be formed. This research suggests that by filtering the water first through a coniferous forest, or estuary, would provide a barrier between excess nutrients and rivers and oceans.