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Duckweed Lab


Nhi Quach APES Period 3 October 12, 2013

To determine the effect of salinity as a limiting factor on the duckweed population growth rate, biotic potential, and carrying capacity, thus also determining the ideal conditions for which duckweed populations should grow in.

Hypothesis: If duckweed populations grow in conditions of varying salinity, then as salinity increases, the growth rate and carrying capacity of the duckweed population decreases.



50ml Centrifuge tubes (8) 100 ml beaker Spatula Parafilm Salt Measuring Scale Pond water Duckweed
50ml Centrifuge tubes (8)
100 ml beaker
Measuring Scale
Pond water


2 control groups are set up by filling up two centrifuge tubes each with 50 ml of pond water and placing in 5 to 6 duckweed fronds. Saline solutions of 1%, 2%, and 3% will be prepared for the other tubes. 1 gram of salt is measured and placed in the 100 ml beaker. The beaker is filled with pond water until it is 100 ml full. The solution is stirred with a spatula and 50 ml of the solution is poured into an empty centrifuge tube. The other 50 ml is poured into another centrifuge tube to make two trials of the 1% salinity group. Five to six duckweed fronds are placed into the tubes. The procedure to make a saline solution should be repeated for the 2% and 3% solutions except that the 2% solution should require 2 grams of salt for 100 ml of pond water and the 3% solution should require 3 grams of salt for 100 ml of pond water. All tubes are covered with Parafilm to reduce evaporation and then placed under a light source. Centrifuge tubes should be checked to make sure each always contains 50 ml of solution so evaporation does not change salinity. If the solution is below 50 ml, the centrifuge is filled with distilled water until 50 ml is reached. As duckweed populations grow, the frond count is recorded each time the populations are observed.


From my group’s observations of duckweed populations in various

conditions of different salinity, we’ve concluded that duckweed ideally grows in a zero salinity environment. My hypothesis that increasing salinity lessened the carrying capacity and growth rate of duckweed has been proven true by the significant difference in growth of the controlled population and the populations in saline solutions. At its maxima, the biotic potential of the zero salinity population was 0.8 (r = 18%) and of the saline populations, the maximum biotic potential was 0.17, which occurred on day 6 of the 3% salinity population (trial 1). It is an important note that while the 1% and 2% salinity groups had virtually zero growth the entire duration of the experiment, the 3% salinity group did display a small amount of growth and later decrease in population. This behavior may be explained by inaccurate counting of fronds or the solution not being mixed thoroughly so the salt had been siting on the bottom of the solution. Through this lab, I again saw the importance of maintaining a controlled, constant environment by making sure the solutions were always 50 ml to prevent changing levels of salinity and learned how to estimate carrying capacity by graphing population versus time.