all done 2

The Van Bael lab was busy at the Maple Street Greenhouse this week, completing our set up of the oiling experiment with Spartina alterniflora. This experiment will help us understand the role of plants and their endophytes in breaking down hydrocarbons from oil. Setting up this experiment began back in February, and now all the treatments are enacted. We are grateful to many helpers this week and some huge thunderstorms too!

It all started with a collection of marsh soil in April, that required hours of screening:

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After the plants were allowed to grow one month, we inserted their plugs into a soil/oil mixture…

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We used weathered oil that was from the actual Deepwater Horizon spill. It arrived in 80 narrow necked bottles, so each was carefully opened using a bottle cutter, flame and ice…then a lot, and I mean A LOT, of oil scraping and mixing occurred. Three days worth.

And here’s the plants back when they were wee seedlings…

Sprouted Surface Sterilized Spartina Seed