Date of Degree
MS (Master of Science)
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jerald L. Schnoor
Simulated oil spills were created in S. alterniflora sediment-water microcosms to determine the effects of applied crude oil on S.alterniflora during two 90-day studies. In the first experiment, oil dosage was varied at 0-250 mg crude oil/g wet soil to determine the lethal dosage level. In the second experiment, oil type, dosage, and soil type were varied to determine the effects of oil under multiple scales of resolution. A light, medium, and heavy crude oil at dosages ranging from 0-150 mg crude oil/g wet soil were used in addition to an oiled and non-oiled soil. Following the completion of the 90-day experiment, several key findings were observed: (1) The lethal dosage limit was reached at 250 mg crude oil/g wet soil during the first experiment but not the second, by design; (2) At initial dosages of 10 and 50 mg crude oil/g wet soil, the oiled soil (acclimated for 4 months) was more influential in decreasing cumulative biomass growth rates compared to oil applied at the oil-water interface; (3) At the heaviest dosages applied as a simulated oil slick, concentrations of 150 mg crude oil/g wet soil, evapotranspiration rates were negatively affected by the oil (significant at p=0.05 in a one-tailed t-test); (4) Light, heavy, and then medium crude oil showed the lowest biomass growths, in that order, indicating that light crude oil was the most toxic in these microcosm experiments with S. alterniflora; (5) The 10 mg oil/g wet soil out-performed the 0 mg oil/g wet soil in transpiration and biomass growth.
Copyright 2013 Elliott Eugene Beenk
Beenk, Elliott E.. "Smooth Cord Grass (Spartina Alterniflora) Response to Simulated Oil Spills in Sediment-Water Microcosms." Master's thesis, University of Iowa, 2013.