A Biofuel-Capable Wetland with Optimal Nitrate Uptake from Chesapeake Bay Waters Affected by Agricultural Runoff
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Harmful algal blooms caused by nitrates and phosphates negatively affect estuarine ecosystems, such as the Chesapeake Bay. These blooms release toxins and block sunlight needed for submerged aquatic vegetation, creating hypoxic areas of the Bay. Artificial wetlands have been utilized to reduce the amount of nitrate pollution. This project will test the Typha latifolia (cattail), Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), and Schoenoplectus validus (soft-stem bulrush) for denitrification potential. In order to amplify the differences between the plants, we will use a carbon-based denitrification factor to be found through testing. We plan to use the ANOVA test in order to determine the significance of our findings. Based on our data, future environmental groups can better choose the species they will plant in artificial wetlands.