WSU Team 10

Project by group wsukenyonspring2017

Explore We have experimented with and observed many different scenarios to see what factors affect growth. Sunlight, temperature, amount of water, and the impact of soil have all been things we have talked about and considered. Something that we never discussed was if extra organisms in the soil or around the seed will have an affect on the germination. From experiences outside of school, we understand that plants growing outside come in contact with many different organisms. We are interested in seeing the impact that different organisms have on plant germination and growth.
Research Question How do added organisms affect germination rate? We have thought about plants growing outside, and all the organisms that come in contact with a plant everyday naturally, such as worms, insects, and bacteria. We were wondering if these organisms affect plant growth. We will be investigating the affect, focusing on spinach growth, in a controlled experiment with different organisms.
Predictions We are planning to test multiple different organisms, including earth worms, mycorrhiza fungi, and bacteria powder, and comparing them to a plant with no added organisms. There are definitely different possible outcomes for our study, but we predict that the seeds planted with earth worms will have the best growth. We feel this is a good prediction because earth worms are the organisms that seem to be the most commonly found in soil in nature. Worms help to aerate the soil and we feel this will be beneficial to seed growth. We think organism that will attribute to the second best growth will be the bacteria powder, and following that in growth will be the plant with the mycorrhiza fungus. We predict that the plant with the least amount of growth will be the control plant, since there are no added organisms to this plant. We believe the bacteria will beat the fungus, because we think that bacteria is more commonly found in soils compared to fungi.
Experimental Design We have chosen to use 8 different pots of the Bloomingdale Spinach. Each pot has 3 seeds per pot. The seeds were planted 1/2 inch down in the soil. The pots each have 6 Tablespoons of Top Soil. Each plant will be watered once a day, Monday-Friday, with 30mL of water. 2 pots will be our control for the experiment. These pots will include the 3 seeds and the top soil. No additives are necessary. 2 pots will include red earthworms. There needs to be 2 red earthworms per pot (4 total). 2 pots will have a Mycorrhizae Superpack. The Mycorrhizae pack is mixed with a gallon of distilled water. After the Mycorrhizae is dissolved completely in the water, 30 mL of the solution is added to each of the 2 pots, one time. After, the pots should be watered with just 30 mL of distilled water. The last 2 pots will have a the Supre Myco Tea packet-this is the compost tea alternative that has bacteria infused within the mixture. The bacteria pack is also mixed with a gallon of distilled water. After the packet has been completely dissolved add 30 mL of the solution to each of the pots, one time. After, the plants should be watered with 30 mL of distilled water. The plants need to be measured as soon as the first sprout is formed in whatever pot has the first sprout. After the first sprout is visible on the surface of the plant, the plants should be measured during class time, Mondays and Wednesdays, until the end date of the experiment.
Conclusion After watering, measuring, and recording data about our plants over a period of time, we found results and came to a conclusion. We averaged the heights of the plants and stalks of each category, with the categories being control group, plants with worms in the soil, plants with bacteria added to the soil, and plants with fungus added to the soil. The averages for each of the categories came to the following: Final Average Height of the Control Group: 3.48 cm Final Average Height of the Worm Group: 3.483 cm Final Average Height of the Bacteria Group: 3.757 cm Final Average Height of the Fungus Group: 4.375 cm In conclusion, the plants that had fungus added to their soil had the best rate of growth. We had not predicted that this will occur, we predicted that worms will lead to the best growth since they are found naturally in the soil. We think that the worms were not as successful as we thought because the worms did die in the beginning because they did not have enough soil. We are thinking the lack of soil made the worms less successful than what we expected. Through research we have found that fungus helps plants absorb nutrients and water. Fungus also helps digest organic matter that is already found in the soil such as nitrogen. We believe that this explains our results, because the plant was able to absorb nutrients and water more efficiently which lead to increased growth. It would be important to repeat the experiment multiple times to make the results always line up. It would also be interesting to test different types of fungus to see if a certain type of fungus is more successful than others.

Team