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COSM Undergrad presents at 46th Annual Southeastern Undergraduate Regional Conference (SURC)

Vanessa Arendt COUR Travel Scholar

Chemistry Major Vanessa Arendt

Undergraduate research student and chemistry major, Ms. Vanessa Arendt recently presented her work at the 46th Annual Southeastern Undergraduate Regional Conference (SURC) at Knoxville, TN on January 31, 2014. The research she presented in her poster was data collected in a collaborative project conducted by her supervisor Dr. David Kreller and Biology Professor Dr. Subhrajit Saha. Vanessa presented on the results of analyses of the organic carbon in soil samples that had been collected during a 2013 study of the carbon sequestration potential of Switchgrass when ‘inter-cropped’ with Longleaf Pine trees. The soil samples were collected at three different depths at the in various test plots in which the switchgrass was intercropped with pine trees of various ages. In addition to the total organic carbon (mass %), the samples were analyzed for their content of carbon-13, so it could be seen both i) how much carbon had been stored in the soil and ii) what kinds of plants (the Switchgrasss or the Pine) had added carbon to the soil. Analyses used a ThermoFisher Delta V plus isotope ratio mass spectrometer which was coupled to a Thermo Flash elemental analyzer. The instrument is located at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah. The results were inconclusive and suggested that a  longer period study with several growing seasons would be needed to investigate the carbon sequestration potential in this intercropping scheme.


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