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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Jaconis, Susan [1], Culley, Theresa [2].

Effects of diesel exhaust and particulate matter on plant ecophysiology, reproduction, and growth.

As sedentary organisms often living along traffic corridors and major roadways, plants represent a hallmark example of the anthropogenic challenges faced by global biodiversity in urban areas.  In particular, plants of economic, agricultural, and natural value are bombarded with vehicular exhaust in many areas.  Although there have been many studies detailing the effects of gaseous emissions from vehicles on plants, there is a gap in our understanding of the effects of particulate matter (PM) on plants despite their potential to negatively impact photosynthesis, growth, and interfere with reproduction.  Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines environmental engineering methods with ecology, I have been examining the effects of diesel exhaust, and especially its associated PM, on Glycine max (soybean) and Cichorium intybus (chicory).  Plants were grown in the field in open top chambers and were exposed to either diesel exhaust or ambient air along with a chamber control for one week.  Ecophysiological, reproductive, and growth traits were measured on plants before and after treatment and again after a recovery period of six weeks.  
Overall, preliminary results show the effects of diesel exhaust and PM on plants to be variable, especially for soybean.  In terms of reproduction, there were no statistical differences between measures of reproductive output of soybeans due to elevated exhaust immediately after exposure.  However, soybean individuals had a significantly higher aboveground biomass after the recovery period if they were exposed to diesel exhaust than with no such exposure.  Although reproductive output was not altered by elevated diesel exposure, energy may be directed towards increased plant growth.  This has serious implications for the agricultural community because increased biomass without increased reproductive output could have a negative effect on fruit producing crops.  However, it could imply higher yields if the fruit portion of the plant is not being harvested.  Research is now focusing on chicory flowers based on the potential of PM to negatively interfere with reproduction via pollination.  From the quality and health of the world’s food supply to the conservation of plant species globally, this research is both timely and valuable. The number of plant species of agricultural, economic, and natural value grown in urban areas and traffic corridors makes it impossible to disregard the effects of airborne pollutants and especially PM on plants.  

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1 - University of Cincinnati, Biological Sciences, 318 College Drive, Cincinnati, OH, 45221-0006, USA
2 - University Of Cincinnati, Department Of Biological Sciences, 614 Rieveschl Hall, Cincinnati, OH, 45221-0006, USA

particulate matter
diesel exhaust
Cichorium intybus
Glycine Max
Plant reproduction

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEC027
Abstract ID:455
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Poster

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