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University of Cincinnati

1. Goldschmidt, Alicia M. Biochar Amendment of Green Roof Substrate: Effect on Vegetation, Nutrient Retention, and Hydrologic Performance.

Degree: MS, Arts and Sciences: Biological Sciences, 2018, University of Cincinnati

Green roofs have the potential to act as pollutant sources, mostly due to the nutrients nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) leaching from the substrate (engineered soil). Designing substrate to reduce this effect, while continuing to provide nutrients for plants, is essential to minimize this ecosystem disservice. Biochar, a type of activated carbon, has the potential to bind nutrients, making them plant available while improving water runoff quality. In addition, biochar is a water-retaining soil additive with the potential to further aid in stormwater retention, a key ecosystem services provided by green roofs.Over two growing seasons, our study evaluated plant productivity, nutrient retention and water retention – three characteristics key to green-roof associated ecosystem services – in extensive green roof test plots after the addition of biochar to the substrate. Replicated plots of biochar-amended substrate treatments were established, both vegetated (Sedum mixture) and unvegetated. Biochar addition did not significantly affect vegetation or water retention, but improved runoff water quality by decreasing phosphorus, organic carbon and organic nitrogen export, all of which were high in runoff from the standard green roof substrate. Biochar was found to be a source of nitrate, but this effect was counteracted by plant presence, with plants greatly reducing N runoff losses. These results suggest that biochar could be a useful amendment for the green roof industry. Improvements in most measured parameters were seen due to either biochar, plant presence, an interaction effect, or due to the product of the green roof itself. Future studies should examine the chemical and physical characteristics of starting substrate and vegetation type to select a complementary biochar material for an ideal substrate mix. Advisors/Committee Members: Buffam, Ishi (Committee Chair).

Subjects/Keywords: Biology; green roof; biochar; stormwater runoff; water quality; substrate amendment; nutrient

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APA (6th Edition):

Goldschmidt, A. M. (2018). Biochar Amendment of Green Roof Substrate: Effect on Vegetation, Nutrient Retention, and Hydrologic Performance. (Masters Thesis). University of Cincinnati. Retrieved from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1535372571339002

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Goldschmidt, Alicia M. “Biochar Amendment of Green Roof Substrate: Effect on Vegetation, Nutrient Retention, and Hydrologic Performance.” 2018. Masters Thesis, University of Cincinnati. Accessed November 22, 2018. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1535372571339002.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Goldschmidt, Alicia M. “Biochar Amendment of Green Roof Substrate: Effect on Vegetation, Nutrient Retention, and Hydrologic Performance.” 2018. Web. 22 Nov 2018.

Vancouver:

Goldschmidt AM. Biochar Amendment of Green Roof Substrate: Effect on Vegetation, Nutrient Retention, and Hydrologic Performance. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. University of Cincinnati; 2018. [cited 2018 Nov 22]. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1535372571339002.

Council of Science Editors:

Goldschmidt AM. Biochar Amendment of Green Roof Substrate: Effect on Vegetation, Nutrient Retention, and Hydrologic Performance. [Masters Thesis]. University of Cincinnati; 2018. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1535372571339002

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