Duckweed can be purchased from plant nurseries, or you can also find it growing naturally in local ponds and marshes. If you find the duckweed in a local water source, make sure you get permission from the land owner or town before taking any.
Low ($20 - $50)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
Some plants grow only in water-logged environments. These plants are usually native to wetlands and are important for the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. Wetland ecosystems are very fragile and susceptible to the toxic dumping of sewage and fertilizer run-off from neighboring farm land. One very common aquatic plant called duckweed inhabits many wetland marshes. Duckweed grows by asexual reproduction and floats at the surface of the water with tiny roots extending into the water below. Can you find duckweed from a local pond or wetland? You can grow the duckweed at home in bowls of water. Will the duckweed grow well in different types of water? Will it grow better in bottled mineral water than when using tap water? What will happen to duckweed grown in acidic water, or water with fertilizer? Are there other types of water contaminants you can test with duckweed? Consult the Measuring Plant Growth page for tips on how to determine which duckweed is growing the most.
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If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Environmental Compliance Inspector
Our environment on planet Earth is made up of the air, water, and land. Environmental compliance inspectors work to protect and preserve our environment and the public by making sure communities, individuals, businesses, and state and local governments are in compliance with pollution laws and regulations.
Soil and Water Conservationist
Soil and water are two of Earth's most important natural resources. Earth would not be able to sustain life without nutritive soil to grow food and clean water to drink. Soil and water conservationists foster the science and art of natural resource conservation. The scientists work to discover, develop, implement, and constantly improve ways to use land that sustains its productive capacity, and enhances the environment at the same time. Soil and water conservationists are involved in improving conservation policy by bringing science and professional judgment to bear in shaping local, state, and federal policy.
With a growing world population, making sure that there is enough food for everyone is critical. Plant scientists work to ensure that agricultural practices result in an abundance of nutritious food in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
Have you ever noticed that for people with asthma it can sometimes be especially hard to breathe in the middle of a busy city? One reason for this is the exhaust from vehicles. Cars, buses, and motorcycles add pollution to our air, which affects our health. But can pollution impact more than our health? Cutting down trees, or deforestation, can contribute to erosion, which carries off valuable topsoil. But can erosion alter more than the condition of the soil? How does an oil spill harm fish and aquatic plants? How does a population of animals interact with its environment? These are questions that environmental scientists study and try to find answers to. They conduct research or perform investigations to identify and eliminate the sources of pollution or hazards that damage either the environment or human and animal health. Environmental scientists are the stewards of our environment and are committed to keeping it safe for future generations.
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