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Mangrove Soil Analysis

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Soil Analysis Soil forms the basis of the world we live in. It is the top layer of the Earth's surface, consisting of rock and mineral particles mixed with organic matter. There are many varieties of soil around the world from Clay to Sand and from Rainforest to Mud. Different types of soil have their own individual characteristics that in turn affect the suitability of growth. This is due to different nutrient levels, water holding capability, pH etc. Many species of plants have adapted to better suit their soil environment. These adaptations have allowed certain plant species to thrive in an area in which other plants would never survive. Mangroves are highly admired for the way they have adapted to live in a saline environment. Flora naturally need freshwater to survive just as we do. Then how can mangroves survive growing in salt water? Mangroves have adapted to filter out the salt when it is absorbed along with the nutrient filled water. This salt is excreted through roots, leaves and bark. What is left is freshwater that can be used by the mangrove. This may seem like a big deal when you could just grow in fresh water however this adaptation allows mangroves to have less competition from other flora. The following experiments are to observe the individual characteristics of 3 different Zones of Mangrove Mud and also Beach, Rainforest and Clay Soil. The purpose of these experiments is to carry out various experiments and thus observe the different characteristics of soils. These characteristics can be compared to see how differences in soil might determine the type of vegetation that grows there. Safety Precautions: Make sure gloves are worn at all times as there are some harmful bacteria and diseases in dirt. Experiment 1 Soil Texture: Aim: To find the percentage of sand, clay and silt in different soil samples. Prediction: I predict that the soil with the highest percentage of sand will be the Trinity Beach sample. ...read more.


If the soil absorbed ALL of the water then root rot would occur. Also if all of this water was absorbed then the ground beneath our feet would become a sloppy mess unsuitable for walking on. Experiment 4 Capillary Action Of Soil: Aim: To observe the rate at which water is absorbed into different soil samples using a Capillary Action setup (see Diagram). Water is absorbed by soil as the soil contains small spaces where water can be held. Prediction: I predict that the Stoney Creek rainforest will absorb the most amount of water over the designated days and the Inner Mud Zone will absorb the least. Materials; * 2 x Mud samples from different areas of the mangroves (Inner & Middle Zones) * 3 x Samples of various areas (Beach, Rainforest and Clay Soil) * 5 x 50cm Clear Plastic Tube, approximately 2cm in diameter. * 5 x Clamps and Stands * 5 x bottom half of Petri Dishes * Permanent marker * Filter Wool * Beaker to top up Petri Dishes * Ruler marked with millimeters Note: The Outer Zone mud sample was too hard to insert and pack into a tube so it was not tested. Diagram: Procedure: 1. Loosely plug one end of each plastic tube with filter wool and trim the excess ends. 2. Label each tube and three quarters fill the named tube with the appropriate dried soil. 3. Tap the tubes to settle the soil. 4. Clamp the tubes above a Petri dish so that it is held just off the bottom of the dish. 5. Fill the Petri dish with water and refill it when necessary during the experiment. 6. Measure the height of the water absorbed up the tube at the time intervals shown in Table 4. Results: Monday 21 May Tuesday 22 May Wednesday 23 May Rate of Absorbency (average mm per day) 30 mins 10:00 am 1 hour 10:30 am 2 hours 11:30 am 3 hours 12:30 am 4 hours 1:30 pm 24 ...read more.


However the soil sample can also hold a lot of water which is necessary for trapping nutrients in the soil. The pH of the soil is close to neutral which is good for promoting Bacteria and Fungal growth. These Bacteria and Fungi help to decompose the high percentage of Organic Matter present in this soil type. The vegetation in the Stoney Creek Rainforest area where this sample was collected is thriving with lush, tropical plants. This type of vegetation needs a lot of water and the soil provides necessary water holding abilities and absorbency rates to hold this water. The flora growing in this area is prone to shedding leaves and this is accountable for the high percentage of Organic Matter. Rainforest soil is appropriate for most flora growth as it contains high nutrient levels. However the soil drains really fast and if clearing occurs the topsoil is easily washed away. The soil which is least suitable for soil growth is Clay. It does not drain easily however it also absorbs water at a relatively strong rate. This is not a good combination as it leaves the soil open to over saturation and also oxygen depletion. This over saturation causes the soil to become unsuitable for most vegetation growth. Most plants prefer well drained soil. Mangroves have evolved to live in saline environments whose soil is flooded half the day at least. They have evolved to have above ground roots that help the plant to breath. These roots also provide stability for the plants in mud that is soft and often unstable due to the high percentage in water. The Outer Zone Mud sample and the Middle Zone Mud Sample both had relatively neutral pH and this preferable pH level was backed up by the higher percentage in vegetation compared to the Inner Zone Mud sample where less vegetation grew along with less water content. All vegetation growth is affected by the soil environment they are in however some plants have adapted to better suit this difference. 1 www.bachmans.com/tipssheets/Soils/WorkingWithClay.cfm ...read more.

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