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Hypotheses for Carbon Consumption Experiment

on March 13, 2013

We are now beginning to do our research project on dissolved organic carbon (DOC). We are using 2 different mesocosms, one in an open field and one in the forest, and we are also using a vernal pool that is in the forest. For this experiment we are going to determine how much DOC is consumed by bacteria over a 28 day period.

For my hypothesis on the forested mesocosm,  bacteria will not consume a great portion of DOC due to the amount of allochthonous carbon that reside in it.Allocthonous carbon have a hard exterior and specific structure which makes it harder for the bacteria to eat.

For the sunny mesocosm, I hypothesize bacteria will consume a majority of DOC. This is because bacteria would rather eat autochthonous carbon since they have a soft exterior and no specific structure.

For the vernal pool, I hypothesize that DOC consumption will be higher than the forested mesocosm because it is located in the forest and partially in the sun. There are plenty of leaves in the vernal pool. These leaves are considered to be an allochthonous form of carbon just like in the forested mesocosm.

I found an article by Yang et al called “Modelling geochemical and microbial consumption of dissolved oxygen after backfilling a high level radiactive waste repository”. The authors performed a similar experiment to what we are conductiong. However, the scientist are using an underground lab to conduct their research. What I found interesting was that an excess amount of dissolved oxygen can deteriorate a radioactive waste container when left for a period of time.

Here’s a link to the article:Modelling geochemical and microbial consumption of dissolved oxygen after backfilling a high level radiactive waste repository


Here’s a vernal pool simialr to the one we are experimenting on at the Rice Center:



4 responses to “Hypotheses for Carbon Consumption Experiment

  1. entomily says:

    It’s interesting that you cite the mix of leaf litter and sun exposure as a reason for greatest DOC consumption in the vernal pool. I found a few articles that support this by correlating biodiversity with consumption and fast carbon cycling. Your hypotheses are eloquent and well informed!

  2. evancoelm1 says:

    Seems like all of us have somewhat similar hypotheses, with maybe 1 of the mesos in a different “order of DOC consumption” than the other two. Personally, I put the vernal pool on top, since it has a decent amount of sunlight, plus high biodiversity in its plant and animal life in it. Then I put the sunny meso after that, and like you, put the forested meso at the bottom. Emily surprised me on her blog by saying that she thought the forested meso would have higher DOC consumption than the sunny, but after reading her justification (had to do with it being a single benthic level) I am open to her ideas as well, as well as Mariah’s.

  3. mariahdavis says:

    I like that we all have different ideas. I’m really interested to see what order the vernal pool will fall in! Your article was a great source.

  4. Good post. Something you can work on is developing citations into your justifications instead of explicitly addressing the article at the end. Most science piggy backs off of other science, so if you find “relatable” studies you can use info from their results to shape your ideas. Seems like you have some well thought through hypotheses here. Good work.

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