Cypress Experiment

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This experiment is designed to test the soil salinity boundaries of a native, swamp tree, the Bald Cypress. I am using Bald Cypress saplings because this information is very important to the freshwater swamps of Southern Louisiana. As salt intrusion occurs more often in our desperate-to-save wetlands, Louisiana’s ecologists are forced to search for answers on how to save our wetlands. Repopulating with the most common and well-known swamp tree, the Bald Cypress, will be a crucial key in maintaining its fragile ecosystem and to repopulate, the young saplings will have to survive in the newly salinified environment. This experiment intends to yield important information on how a Bald Cypress sapling’s health can be affected by Soil Salinity.…show more content…
Some degree of salt and mineral concentration is needed to keep the plant alive but too much can easily harm the plant. Large amounts of salts can trigger the plant cells to try and create equilibrium ("Salinity-Resistant Plants" 478-482). Salt is a solute that attracts water and if too much water enters the plant cell, attracted by the salt, the cell will burst. Salts are more than just the common table salt, many minerals, that soil contains, are salts. These salts normally consist of sodium and/or chloride but are also often composed magnesium, calcium, sulfur, and/or potassium ("Salinization"). Salinization, the process of a soil gaining salts, sometimes occurs naturally in coastal areas due to sea flooding, storm surge, and low water tables ("Salinization"). A process of salts slowing moving downwards known a leaching often helps enough for those natural processes to balance out and keep the wildlife alive (Lambert). Saline soils are defined by having enough salts in the soil to hamper with non-salt-resistant plant’s ability to drink water; large amounts of irrigation and fertilization an increase the salinity greatly (Saline…show more content…
Water itself is,despite common belief, a poor conductor of electricity (Sonon, Saha, and Kissel). The electrical conductivity of water is due to what is floating among itself including salts, making the electrical conductivity directly proportionate to the number of dissolved salts (Sonon, Saha, and Kissel). Due to these facts, testing the soil salinity is simply done by testing the electrical conductivity of a 2:1 mixture of water and the soil (Sonon, Saha, and Kissel). Wetlands are biomes that, unlike the other biomes, are constantly sitting in low lying water. These biomes are filled with wildlife especially adapted to this lifestyle. Wetlands also have low-permeable soils and little oxygen where roots grow (Rice 369-372). Because of this, many plants have adapted to live life like this such as the Bald Cypress, which creates “knees” that protrude above the surface water to provide oxygen to the lower roots and more aeration (Rice

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