Carbon and Nitrogen Deposition in the Phoenix Urban Area.

Most would agree that the key to a successful and healthy garden or farm is to properly fertilize the soil to make it nutrient rich for greater plant growth. But would most agree that we should be fertilizing our deserts?
013.JPG
As seen in most urban areas we see a build up of fossil fuel emissions in the form of smog. In the Phoenix urban areas this brown cloud can be seen at most times of the year and researchers from the CAP LTER project are concerned with the amount of nitrogen that is falling from the sky and onto our desert landscape. The Phoenix area that is being researched is divided into 3 regions: Downwind, Core, and Upwind. The sites and their placement in the path of the wind is very important because this could directly impact the amount of nitrogen that is being deposited onto our urban deserts. There are 5 sites in each region. The researcher are collecting biomass samples from each site and are testing for the amount of Nitrogen in a specific plant called Pectocarya. This plant was chosen because it is present at most sites specified in the study. The researchers then analyze the plant samples to see the nitrogen amounts in the plants and see how they compare amongst the other sites.
021.JPG019.JPG

Once the samples are collected they will be dried and the biomass will be weighed. Once this has happened the bags will be sorted through to specifically pick out the Pectocarya. Once this has happened the plant will then be ground up and put into a ball and mill vial to be ground down to a very fine powder. The powder will then be sent away to be analyzed for its nitrogen content.008.JPG