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The Effects of Water pH on Plant Growth and Diversity

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Mykal Prather

on 9 April 2014

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Transcript of The Effects of Water pH on Plant Growth and Diversity

The Effects of Water pH on Plant Growth and Diversity

Mykal-Hana Prather
In this experiment, I used pH strips to determine the pH and alkalinity levels in different bodies of water and then noted the variety and stages of development any surrounding plant life. I took 3 oz samples of water from Lake Julian, the Davidson River, the French Broad River, and the Wash Creek and then tested them with pH strips. In my hypothesis, I stated that water's pH level would directly affect plant development. Along with gathering photos of the surrounding plant life and recorded basic observations. For example, one of the observations I recorded at the French Broad River stated that a majority of the surrounding plants were trees and various types of weeds. There were no flowering plants, despite it being early spring. According to my results, all of the samples had the same pH and alkalinity level, except the Davidson River. My hypothesis was correct, as most plants at the Davidson River were the same as those surrounding Lake Julian. Even some of the pine trees around the French Broad were present, appearing to be very close in stage of development to those seen elsewhere. This data allows me to conclude that most bodies of water in Buncombe and Henderson County are same in regards to pH and thus, will share similar patterns in plant life.
To determine if the pH of a body of water affects the growth and development rates of plants and/or affects the type of plant most commonly growing there.
If the plant life around one body of water is in the same stage of development and similar in type, then the pH and alkalinity of the water will be the same as another with similar plant life.
1) Obtain a map of the bodies of water or water sources in your area. Decide which four you would like to gather samples from.
2) Find an area where there seems to be a large amount of plant life and record observations on the plants.
3) Using the 3 oz. bottle, collect a water sample by plunging your arm approximately 5 inches under the water.
4) Label the bottle with the name of the water source.
5) Dip a pH strip into the water sample and remove it. Wait 15 seconds, making sure you don't wipe away the excess water.
6) Record the pH level onto the data table and repeat with the other three samples.

pH strips, four 3 oz. bottles, gloves (optional)
Water samples

Lake Julian

Pine trees, tall grass, weeds, rhododendrons
Davidson River

Oak trees, various grass and clover, lily sprouts, rhododendrons
French Broad River

Oak trees, tall grass, weeds
Wash Creek

Pine trees, various grass and clover, lily sprouts

Despite the distance between all of these bodies of water, their pH levels were very close in range. Most of the plant life was similar as well, with few exceptions. Using previous knowledge, 6.5-6.8 is actually Western North Carolina's average pH level. These four seemed to be no exception. This data allows a reasonable conclusion to be made that most of these fully developed plants thrive best in the 6.5-6.8 pH range.
My hypothesis was correct, when I measured the pH of separate bodies of water and observed the different types of plants around them, I discovered the correlation between the two. Plant life is directly affected by the pH level in water.
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