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Graduation Term


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Diane Byers


Increased nutrient levels, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, in waterways have led to a hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The loss of wetland ecosystems is one contributing factor to the increase in phosphorus levels. Many domestic wastewater treatment facilities do not treat for phosphorus removal, they are classified as a point source of phosphorus introduction into local waterways by the EPA. Wetlands have been shown to reduce nutrient concentrations by sedimentation, sorption on the substrate, and plant uptake. Most studies examining phosphorus reduction by plant uptake focus on individual species and attempt to quantify the amount of uptake in a controlled setting. It has been shown plant uptake is a major mechanism of phosphorus removal and research on individual species can assist in deciding which species would be most efficient, however, most of the research used tropical macrophyte species.

In this research, I examined increasing phosphorus reduction by using native Illinois macrophytes classified by root structure in a constructed wetland supplied by wastewater treatment facility effluent. In a stratified randomized block design, I examined phosphorus reduction between control treatments and functional group treatments based upon root structure. Functional group treatments consisted of a fibrous root treatment, taproot treatment, and a mixed treatment consisting of both taproot and fibrous root plant species. Although there is a significant decrease in soluble reactive phosphorus between the influent and effluent water of the study site, there was not a significant reduction in total phosphorus or soluble reactive phosphorus between functional group treatments.


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