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Case Study: Estimating ammonium uptake rates of several species of duckweed with the AquaFluour Handheld Fluorometer

“Duckweed” is the common name for a number of species (e.g., Lemna sp., Spirodela sp., Wolffia sp.) of tiny plants that float directly on the surface of freshwater lakes and ponds. The rapid growth of these plants under high nutrient (eutrophic) conditions can make for a love-hate relationship with duckweed. On one hand, duckweed has the potential for applied uses with numerous societal benefits. Engineered applications of duckweed such as wastewater treatment, biofuel production, ecotoxicity assays, and agriculture feed production are currently being developed or are in use. On the other hand, duckweed can become a nuisance in natural environments. Many small, eutrophic ponds can be completely covered by these floating plants. When duckweeds dominate, light and dissolved oxygen levels in waterbody are low, causing negative impacts on submerged aquatic vegetation and other groups of organisms. For both applied uses and management of nuisance duckweed it is important to know the performance of different duckweed species over a range of environmental conditions. Michael conducted laboratory experiments to examine growth rates, nutrient uptake rates, and competitive interactions of multiple species of these tiny, floating plants.  >> read more

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