Utilizing Duckweed to Limit Algal Blooms in Eutrophic Water
Presented by: Elizabeth Collins
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Bianca Wentzell, Assistant Professor of Biology
Algal blooms often occur as a direct result of eutrophication; a process in which nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus accumulate in water bodies. These blooms have been occurring more frequently throughout the United States in recent years, with increasingly deleterious effects such as toxin production with blue-green algal blooms, as well as the creation of “dead zones” from the reduction of dissolved oxygen. Duckweed, a floating aquatic plant, can be used to combat the effects of eutrophication by taking up excess nitrogen and phosphorus. In this study, duckweed will be introduced into eutrophic systems already containing large algal populations. Reduction in concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus will be measured, as well as possible reduction in algal biomass. Duckweed growth and dissolved oxygen concentrations will also be monitored. It is predicted that duckweed’s phytoremediation abilities will indirectly limit the growth of the algae, in addition to improving water quality.