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									 Inflorescence Production in Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Across a
                             Fertility Gradient

                                      Richard Patterson
                                   Department of Biology
                                Lake Superior State University
                                 Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan


      Purple loosestrife is considered an invasive plant species, which thrives in moist
      soils. It is a highly competitive plant, and can displace native vegetation, leaving
      poor quality habitat for wetland animals. The purpose of this study is to
      determine if purple loosestrife, if presented with an increasing amount of
      fertilizer, will allocate this resource to produce higher quality inflorescences.
      Purple loosestrife plants were grown in a range of complete fertilization with 0
      ppm Nitrogen, 10 ppm Nitrogen, 20 ppm Nitrogen, and 30 ppm Nitrogen over a
      period of six weeks. Plants were grown in 12” pots filled with play sand and set
      in standing water in a randomized complete block design. After six weeks, the
      plants were harvested, inflorescences were separated and dried. Dry mass and
      inflorescence lengths were measured and mass per unit length was then computed.
      Caloric content per gram was obtained through bomb calorimeter on the low
      nitrogen level and high nitrogen level treatments. Analysis of variance showed
      that fertilization increased total inflorescence length and mass. Mass per unit
      length also increased, suggesting increased quality of inflorescences with
      increased nutrient availability. Caloric content showed no difference between the
      low and high nitrogen level treaments.

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