Do unplowed areas of remnant tallgrass prairie offer the best examples of unaltered or “natural” prairie systems? Remnants that are on floodplains may show evidence of human alteration even though the area has never been plowed or intentionally altered. My project investigates the soil under Wearin Prairie, a floodplain remnant, for evidence of alteration indirectly caused by human actions. Specifically, my experiments were designed to test for the presence of available Phosphorus, a component of commercial fertilizer which might be deposited during flooding events. The results showed a correlation between the concentration of available phosphorus and proximity of the sample site to the West Nishnabotna River, implying fertilizer deposition.
Elizabeth Bach, ’07 Richmond, IN
Majors: Biology, Environmental Studies
Sponsor: Marty Condon