Ecology Lab Report (Not Finished Yet)

Topics: Acid, Water, PH Pages: 8 (2423 words) Published: June 1, 2013
Lab Report: How Do Different pH Levels Affect The Growth of Plants

Plant growth is affected by various environmental factors, and pH is one of those. The pH of soil and the water that plants receive can have an impact on whether they obtain nutrients or not. Ph impacts the chemical reactions that take place within a plant, if the pH of the soil or water that the plant receives is too low (acidic),the nutrients that the plant requires may become extremely soluble to the point where ion levels are high enough to harm the plant. Acid rain is an environmental factor that greatly alters the pH of both the soil and the water that a plant obtains.

Acid rain is a form of precipitation that has a pH level of 4.3. Due to its high acidity acid rain has grave impacts on the environment. Acid rain has the capability to reduce the biodiversity of an environment by polluting lakes and by reducing the defences of vegetation and plants in the ecosystem. When animals, such as fish, are exposed to acid rain they are usually unable to survive. Acid rain can affect lakes and other watery environments in two ways, chronic and episodic. The chronic effect is a long term effect caused by constant acidic precipitation throughout years, this causes an increased acidity of water while reducing the availability of nutrients for the inhabitants of this ecosystem. The episodic effect , however, is a sudden increase in the acidity of a body of water. This is usually caused by heavy amounts of acidic precipitation during a short period of time. Episodic effects also occur in the spring, in areas where winter snow has melted and releases sulfates and nitrates concentrated within it. This type of acidification causes changes in water chemistry that can be fatal to animals within the body of water.

However, when plants are exposed to acid rain they grow at a slower rate and their defences can be lowered due to the high acidity of this precipitation. Acid rain also impacts plants by decreasing the obtainable nutrients while increasing the amount of aluminum released, which can be toxic to plants, and causing damage to leaves, thus decreasing the production of energy through photosynthesis.

These impacts of pH and acid rain on plants led us to test how different levels of pH in the water source of a plant impact the growth. Our experiment would test how different substances with different pH levels would impact the growth of a plant. We would use substances with pH levels higher and lower than that of acid rain to simulate the varying effects of acid rain on plant growth. After finding a list of substances along with their pH levels we found how these substances would impact the growth of a plant. Pure water is the essential liquid that plants need to survive, it has a neutral pH of 7. Water contains nutrients that plants require to grow. Vinegar can have varying effects on plant growth, if the pH of the soil is too basic, the vinegar can aid in growth, but if the pH of the soil is too acidic or neutral the vinegar can kill the plant. Juices, sodas, and gatorade have pH levels of 3, although plants may use these substances to aid growth, they will later harm the root systems and decrease the amount of nutrients received by plants. Milk contains calcium which plants require to grow, but it also contains a large amount of proteins and carbohydrates that are unnecessary for plant growth. Eggs, which have a pH level of 8, add calcium to the soil in which the plant is growing in and gives vitamins to the plant. Ammonia has a pH of 11 which makes it more alkaline and less corrosive. Ammonia also contains nitrogen, which many plants require to function. Soapy water has a pH level of 12 and contains some of the same nutrients as water. Soapy water is more helpful when growing outdoor plants because it prevents the plant from obtaining too much water by coating the leaves in a soapy film, despite this advantage, soapy water can also cause plant...
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