Submitted to: Mississippi Academy of Sciences Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2005
Publication Date: 2/17/2005
Citation: Kroger, R., Holland, M.M., Moore, M.T., Cooper, C.M. 2005. Duplicity of plants in nutrient uptake within agricultural drainage ditches. Abstracts of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences. p. 32. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Agriculture drainage ditches are primary intercept wetlands in the amelioration of nutrient pollution from agricultural fields. Amelioration of nutrient pollution has wide reaching consequences on receiving water pollution and possibly implications for aquatic community structure and Gulf hypoxia. Drainage ditches, as integral components of the agricultural landscape, remove surface runoff and act as major conduits of nutrients from agricultural lands to receiving waters. These ditches are prolifically abundant in wetland plants, providing additional surface area for microbial interactions as well as acting in a small, yet important assimilatory capacity. However, their assimilatory function is negated in winter with seasonal die back and the release of assimilated nutrients into the system. The additional lack of cover, in a winter rainfall area allows faster water movement in the ditch. We tested the hypotheses of whether plants given the opportunity will firstly assimilate higher concentrations of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and whether with subsequent decomposition these concentrations are released back into the water column. Given the opportunity Leersia oryzoides, a dominant wetland ditch plant species, will assimilate significantly higher concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in above and below ground biomass. Subsequently, the senescence of aboveground biomass yields significantly higher levels of phosphorus and for longer periods of time. However, there were no significant differences in nitrate and nitrite levels which suggests that denitrification and microbial processes were removing these products from the system.