2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Symposium

Location

Ballroom, Maucker Student Union, University of Northern Iowa

Presentation Type

Open Access Poster Presentation

Document Type

poster

Abstract

With the recent focus on the causes and effects of climate change, the relationship between agriculture and climate change has become an important concern. Traditional farming maximizes crop production at the expense of ecosystem services like soil carbon storage. As the human population grows, it is vital to develop practices that balance crop production and ecosystem services. We investigated organic carbon accumulation in restored prairie soil over the course of a decade. Our goal was to determine how organic carbon levels and soil bulk density changed over time, and how that change was influenced by species diversity and soil depth. We hypothesized that more organic carbon would be stored in soil over time, and bulk density would decrease, both of which we found to be true. We also hypothesized that the amount of organic carbon stored would increase with greater species diversity (1-species, and 5-, 16-, and 32-species mixes) and it would decrease with soil depth. Our results showed us that species diversity has no noticeable effect on organic carbon levels, with the 5-species mix being the exception, as it stored very low levels of organic carbon. In both soil depths (0-7.5 cm and 7.5-15.0 cm), bulk density increased the first 5 years, then decreased drastically over the next 6 years, but decreased overall with soil depth when we compared 0-7.5 cm and 7.5-15.0 cm depths. We concluded that organic carbon accumulation increases over time in restored prairie soil regardless of species diversity or soil depth. As time passed, growing roots loosened up the soil, increasing and then decreasing bulk density.

Start Date

30-7-2021 11:30 AM

End Date

30-7-2021 1:15 PM

Event Host

Summer Undergraduate Research Program, University of Northern Iowa

Faculty Advisor

Kenneth J. Elgersma

Department

Department of Biology

Department

Tallgrass Prairie Center

File Format

application/pdf

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Jul 30th, 11:30 AM Jul 30th, 1:15 PM

Soil Organic Carbon Accumulation in Restored Native Prairies Over Time

Ballroom, Maucker Student Union, University of Northern Iowa

With the recent focus on the causes and effects of climate change, the relationship between agriculture and climate change has become an important concern. Traditional farming maximizes crop production at the expense of ecosystem services like soil carbon storage. As the human population grows, it is vital to develop practices that balance crop production and ecosystem services. We investigated organic carbon accumulation in restored prairie soil over the course of a decade. Our goal was to determine how organic carbon levels and soil bulk density changed over time, and how that change was influenced by species diversity and soil depth. We hypothesized that more organic carbon would be stored in soil over time, and bulk density would decrease, both of which we found to be true. We also hypothesized that the amount of organic carbon stored would increase with greater species diversity (1-species, and 5-, 16-, and 32-species mixes) and it would decrease with soil depth. Our results showed us that species diversity has no noticeable effect on organic carbon levels, with the 5-species mix being the exception, as it stored very low levels of organic carbon. In both soil depths (0-7.5 cm and 7.5-15.0 cm), bulk density increased the first 5 years, then decreased drastically over the next 6 years, but decreased overall with soil depth when we compared 0-7.5 cm and 7.5-15.0 cm depths. We concluded that organic carbon accumulation increases over time in restored prairie soil regardless of species diversity or soil depth. As time passed, growing roots loosened up the soil, increasing and then decreasing bulk density.