Essay On Duckweed

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Duckweed is a small free floating aquatic perennial (Briggs, 1925). They are made up of a small leaf usually smaller than 5 mm, dependant on the species, which float on stagnant or slow moving water in groups of two or three, or individually (Gifford 2004). Lemna Minor was used in this experiment. They are usually seen in late spring to autumn, although some species remain green throughout the winter, while still more form a turion underwater in winter months and surface again in spring (Guha, 1997).
They reproduce either by flowering (which is rare), or by vegetative reproduction (Gifford 2004), which allows for rapid or exponential growth. A frond can produce 10-20 new fronds before it dies. Each new frond is an exact genetic clone of the mother clone (Landolt, 1987).
Rapid growth means that duckweed can often colonise a pond or dam extremely quickly, and form a dense mat that stops light from filtering through to the water. This stops algae growing and can also kill fish in ponds and in fish farms (DWRP, 1998). Because of this, pond owners and farmers often try to control it
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the presence of resources in a habitat. This factor will be replicated by changing the amount of fertiliser each group of duckweed fronds receives. Other factors affecting population size include space available for expansion of the population and competition for resources (such as sunlight) and type of reproduction of the organism. These factors were represented by a limited space provided for the duckweed to grow in and by choosing a species of duckweed that reproduces vegetatively. By studying the duckweed population it will be possible to draw conclusions about its type of growth curve (logistical or exponential) and reasons for this, and also about the advantages and disadvantages of vegetative and sexual reproduction in

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