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Phosphorus Retention in Constructed Wetlands Vegetated with Juncus effusus, Carex lurida, and Dichanthelium acuminatum var. acuminatum

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Abstract

Vegetated constructed wetlands are used for sequestration of nutrients from agricultural runoff. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to study phosphorus retention rates in unvegetated and vegetated constructed wetland mesocosms planted with Juncus effusus (J. effusus), Carex lurida (C. lurida), and Dichanthelium acuminatum var. acuminatum (D. acuminatum). Mesocosms were either planted with monocultures of J. effusus, C. lurida, D. acuminatum or a mixed culture with all the above three plants or remained unvegetated. Mesocosms were dosed with 2.5 mg/l of phosphorus once every month for 6 months (June to November) in 2008 and 2009. Water samples were collected 8 h after dosing and were analyzed for soluble inorganic phosphorus, particulate phosphorus, and total phosphorus. Sediment and plant samples were also collected with the water samples and were analyzed for total phosphorus. Vegetated treatments were effective in removing phosphorus and had at least 70 % removal rate in 2008 and 2009. Unvegetated mesocosms showed 80 % removal rate in 2008 and 65 % in 2009. Monoculture of C. lurida and J. effusus along with the mixed culture treatment indicated at least 77 % of removal rates. In conclusion, vegetated mesocosms had higher phosphorus removal rates compared to mesocosms with no vegetation. Therefore, the study suggests that phosphorus removal rates could be enhanced by using vegetated constructed wetlands with either monoculture or mixed culture stands of J. effusus and C. lurida.

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Acknowledgments

Support for this work was provided by the USDA Agricultural Research Service Cooperative Agreement No. 58-6408-6052 and a Ralph Powe Award from The University of Mississippi Field Station. Thanks to Drs. Charlie Cooper, Colin Jackson, Matt Moore, and Robbie Kröger for design suggestions and to Forrest Briggs, Tara Davis, and Clint Helms for logistical support. We thank an anonymous reviewer for providing useful and helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rani Menon.

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Menon, R., Holland, M.M. Phosphorus Retention in Constructed Wetlands Vegetated with Juncus effusus, Carex lurida, and Dichanthelium acuminatum var. acuminatum . Water Air Soil Pollut 224, 1602 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-013-1602-5

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