Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Krishnaswamy Jayachandran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Leonard J. Scinto

Third Advisor's Name

Stewart Reed

Keywords

Biochar, South Florida, phaseolus vulgaris, soil fertility, microbial respiration, carbon dioxide, CO2, black carbon, snap bean growth, soil quality

Date of Defense

11-5-2012

Abstract

Biochar has been heralded a mechanism for carbon sequestration and an ideal amendment for improving soil quality. Melaleuca quinquenervia is an aggressive and wide-spread invasive species in Florida. The purpose of this research was to convert M. quinquenervia biomass into biochar and measure how application at two rates (2% or 5% wt/wt) impacts soil quality, plant growth, and microbial gas flux in a greenhouse experiment using Phaseolus vulgaris L. and local soil.

Plant growth was measured using height, biomass weight, specific leaf area, and root-shoot ratio. Soil quality was evaluated according to nutrient content and water holding capacity. Microbial respiration, as carbon dioxide (CO2), was measured using gas chromatography. Biochar addition at 5% significantly reduced available soil nutrients, while 2% biochar application increased almost all nutrients. Plant biomass was highest in the control group, p2 flux decreased significantly in both biochar groups, but reductions were not long term.

Identifier

FI12120413

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