Effects of fungi on soil fertility

Effects of fungi on soil fertility

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Traditional fertilizers result in nitrogen runoff that can cause damaging algae blooms. Therefore, it is in the best interest of farmers and ecologists to seek natural alternatives, such as the use of endomycorrhizal fertilizer. This mutualistic relationship exists naturally between fungi and plant roots, allowing both to benefit from each other. By comparing the growth rate of Solidago californica in soil treated with three different fertilizer types- a traditional fertilizer, naturally harvested fungi rich soil from Fairfield Osborn Preserve, and a commercial mycorrhizal fertilizer- our research observes the effectiveness of fungi in promoting the growth of plants with a fungal interaction. We expected the traditional fertilizer to yield the best results due to its high demand, and the endomycorrhizal rich soil to return better results than the naturally harvested fungi rich soil.

A Watershed Year is a freshman year experience that introduces students to local watersheds as they learn about science. The course focuses on teaching students how to conduct their own research. Course development was funded by National Science Foundation.


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"The Effects of Fungal Symbiosis on Growth Rate of Cosmos sulphureus" poster Diego Cabrera, Tabitha Miles; Perla Marquez; Peter Newson