Date of Award
Russell D. Briggs
Subaqueous soil science is considered one of the new subfields of Pedology. This recently developed idea defines subaqueous soils as sediments in shallow water environments that undergo soil-forming processes, are capable of supporting rooted plants, and form horizons in place. By surveying the subaqueous soils, soil scientists can provide insight for the management of submerged aquatic vegetation restoration and estuarine protection. With the help of soil scientists from the USDA-NRCS, soil cores were extracted for a subaqueous soil survey in Barnegat Bay, NJ and split open for description. Subsamples from each horizon from each core were collected and analyzed for total carbon, total nitrogen, and extractable phosphorus. This study aims to determine if there is a significant difference in chemical properties among soil series (Cottman, Demas, Figgs, and Indian River) found in the bay. Total carbon and nitrogen were determined with an elemental analyzer (Dumas method). Extractable phosphorus was determined with the Bray I method. With respect to phosphorus, the soil series were not significantly different. The Demas series had significantly higher nitrogen levels (0.212 ± 0.242% N), whereas the Indian River series had significantly lower nitrogen levels (0.016% ± 0.017% N) compared to the other series. The Cottman series had significantly higher carbon levels (0.869% ± 0.702% C), whereas the Indian River series had significantly lower carbon levels (0.259% ± .188% C). Given these results, the Cottman series might be the best soils for planting submerged aquatic vegetation, such as eelgrass.
Northrup, Kristy, "Comparing Chemical Properties of Subaqueous Soil Samples from Barnegat Bay, NJ: An Analysis of Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus" (2015). Honors Theses. 93.