The Influence of Plant Species on Nitrogen Removal within Biofilters

(2010 – current)
Emily Payne

This project aims to identify and investigate mechanisms of nitrogen removal from stormwater that differ between plant species within biofilters. The research will feed into an ARC Linkage funded project: Understanding the role of vegetation in biofiltration systems.

A selection of native species from Western Australia and Victoria and two common lawn grasses will be compared within a lab-scale column experiment. The study will utilise data from nitrogen isotope labelling, in conjunction with analysis of the treated stormwater effluent, to identify nitrogen transformation and attenuation processes occurring within the biofilter. In particular, this may illuminate nitrogen storage dynamics within the plant, soil and microbial pools. Correlations between species nitrogen removal performance and indicators of biomass allocation, root morphology and plant physiology will be sought. The project will also investigate the implications of biofilter design and climate on nitrogen removal. Overall, the study aims to identify species attributes that relate to nitrogen removal capability in order to improve guidelines for biofilter species selection.

Project Partner:
The project received funding as part of an ARC Linkage grant.

Supervisors:
Prof Tim Fletcher, Dr Perran Cook and Dr Belinda Hatt.

Publications (link)

Link:
Understanding the Role of Vegetation in Biofiltration Systems (Vegetated Filtration Systems/Biofilters) WSUD Technologies