Roland-Story biology students have been involved with recent lessons in which they haven been exploring the chemistry of soil, such as the pH and salinity. Both factors influence the growth of plants by affecting the availability or absorption of water and nutrients.
In two recent lab experiments, the students were able to determine the salinity of soil by measuring the electrical conductivity and in another were able to measure soil salinity to determine the effects of chemical fertilizers on soil salinity levels.
“These were both excellent labs that professionals in the industry use to help them explore the chemistry of soils and what practices can be done to improve plant growth. Salts, especially in the form of chemical fertilizers, can build up in soils and greenhouse container media. The cause is poor water movement in the soil or lack of water altogether. This condition can be a problem in arid regions that do not have much rainfall and have poorly drained soils,” said Brad Taylor, biology instructor.