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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - July 01, 2008

From: Valdosta, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Native vs. Invasive Experiment
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I asked you earlier about my group's experiment on native vs. invasive plants in Valdosta. Here are what we chose to work with..native: spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) and invasive: wild taro (Colocasia esculenta). Do you have any idea or suggestions on growing and monitoring them inside an aquarium in order for us to test their carbon dioxide levels and photosynthesis rates?? Thank you so much for your valuable time!!

ANSWER:

Clearly, we do not have enough information about the design of your experiment to help you.  It seems to us that a better choice for comparison would be two very closely-related species - one native, the other invasive.  Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket) and Colocasia esculenta (taro) are so dissimilar that it seems like any results you got would be skewed.  Moreover, Colocasia grows quite large.  Your aquarium will need to be proportionally huge to accomodate it.  We recommend discussing your project with a science faculty member at Valdosta State University.

 

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