Prince of Wales Secondary
Floor Location : M 075 V
After reading a couple books and articles on the topic of trees and their microbes, I became intrigued by the relations between trees and the microorganisms in the soil, my passion for trees was reignited. I did some research on trees and plants and the factors that can affect their health, I noticed that most of our methods of identifying tree health were either visual or physical. Visual tests are often ineffective when it comes to helping a tree because most of the time, visually deteriorating health indicates that the tree is already in a bad state. Physical tests are not much better, since they require physically sampling the tissue of the tree, potentially harming it, and once the cambium of a tree is exposed, it becomes very vulnerable to infection. Knowing this, I began to develop my project based on the following knowledge. When a tree is active, it takes in nutrients from the ground, possibly in the form of ions, thus creating a measurable potential difference in the soil. Since this difference should indicate the presence and activity of roots, and microbes prefer to have active roots to support them and trade with, I believe that the Microbial Life Densities should, after an undisturbed period, follow very closely to the Soil Potential Difference. To support this idea, I conducted two tests from which I derived results that would otherwise be completely invisible to the human eye. One to measure and graph Soil Potential Difference and one to quantify and visualize Microbial Life Densities. Both tests were done using simple and accessible resources I had found at home. I visualized my results using graphs to represent electro-potential ranges and microbial life densities. I hope to use these findings to open a new path toward understanding the different aspects that may indicate or even predict a trees state. I think that this is an exciting new field of study and look forward to learning more about the topic.