Undergraduate Student Work


Summer 2018 U. S. Army, REAP Internship, University of Northern Iowa, Department of Biology, Cedar Falls, Iowa


Open Access Undergraduate Student Work

Type of Work

Poster Presentation


Typha--Growth; Typha--Morphology; Nitrogen fertilizers;


In Iowa, there are three types of cattails (Typha spp.): Typha latifolia (broadleaf), Typha angustifolia (narrow leaf), and Typha x glauca. T. latifolia is native to Iowa, while T. angustifolia and T. x glauca are not native. Cattails are found in wetlands, highly productive ecosystems that provide many services such as water filtration and flood control.

However, Typha are opportunistic and invasive: if left uncontrolled, Typha grows rapidly by clonal reproduction, quickly dominating the ecosystem, lowering overall diversity and hurting the wetland’s conservation value. Being able to easily identify these taxa will improve the pace of future research.

The purpose of this study is to understand the effects of different nitrogen amounts on the growth and morphology of each Typha taxon. In order to achieve this, Typha was grown in 1.75-m mesocosms and in 25-cm pots with different amounts of fertilizer. Leaf length and width were measured, and a taxon was assigned based on those measurements. Leaves from these individuals were sampled, ground up for DNA extraction, purified, amplified by PCR, and sequenced. The data show how each taxon’s leaf height and width responds to differing nitrogen amounts.

Date of Work

Summer 2018


Department of Biology

First Advisor

Kenneth Elgersma


UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library


©2018 Anissa Forero and Kenneth Elgersma



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