Reforestation in Peru: Effects of Mercury Contamination
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Jada-Mercy Ayebae1*, Maria Rodriguez1, Dr. Natasha Andrade *Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 In the Amazon Rainforest, illegal gold mining leaves water, soil and vegetation contaminated with mercury. This affects the environment and the populations dependent on the land for survival. Experiments to assess the toxicity of mercury on indigenous plant will be performed by UMD researchers next year in the Amazon. Radish and tomato seeds were used to design experiments with the purpose of understanding the effects of mercury on vegetation, specifically during germination. It was hypothesized that the control seeds (non-exposed to mercury) would grow longer and healthier than the others, to be implicated by root elongation. Seeds were treated with various concentrations of mercury (2ppm, 1ppm, 0.5ppm, 0ppm). The results showed that the seeds from the control group and those exposed to 0.5 ppm of mercury had greater root elongation than those exposed to 1 and 2ppm, after three days of germination in radishes. The tomatoes were tested in a weeklong experiment finding that, the control group had a significantly higher root length followed by 0.5 and 2ppm. These results showed that 2ppm (the greatest concentration) stunted root elongation the most in radishes and 1ppm stunted root elongation the most in tomatoes. These results support some of the hypothesis and the worries about mercury deposits in the Amazon rainforest.
Poster Presentation by Jada-Mercy Ayebae. Reforestation in Peru: Effects of Mercury Contamination. Advised by Maria Rodriguez, PhD candidate, and Dr. Natasha Andrade. Completed through the LSAMP URP program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Also submitted for 2020 College Park Scholars: Science and Global Change Practicum.