Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE)
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Restoration projects use native plants such as sea oats (Uniola paniculata) to help stabilize the coast. Sea oats are a native grass that can collect blowing sand to build dunes. Sea oats used in the restoration projects can be produced using sexual or asexual techniques. An ideal seedling would be genetically distinct, have increased seed production and germination, and have superior vegetative biomass. Finding ways to produce, propagate, and grow coastal plants such as sea oats effectively is critical to efforts to reduce erosion. In this study, production of sea oats via greenhouse based hydroponic systems was studied. This was accomplished by using fresh, brackish, and saline water conditions and then varying the amount of phosphorus fertilizer. Root growth was shown to be significantly affected by salinity, with an optimal salinity of 10 ppt. Phosphorus fertilizer was not statistically significant. When the mortality was investigated, there was an area of interest with a predicted mortality rate of 80%. The area was between 1.25x and 1.5x concentration of phosphoric acid and 7 and 13 ppt of salinity. The schematics of the hydroponic system, coupled with the findings, should assist growers and researchers in optimal growing conditions under hydroponic greenhouse conditions. Further studies are needed to assess if other nutrient conditions may have significant effects, and how plants grown in a greenhouse may survive in field conditions. Ultimately, this work should contribute to efforts to effectively produce plants, which will help reduce erosion and assist in coastal restoration efforts.
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Gilliam, Stefanie Renee, "Engineering of hydroponic systems to enhance biomass of sea oats (Uniola paniculata)" (2013). LSU Master's Theses. 3421.
Hall, Steven G.