Variations in Soil pH Across Climatic Gradients the Reynolds Creek Watershed, Idaho

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

Jen Pierce


Soil pH is an important factor in soil science because it determines how plants acquire nutrients. Soil pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of soil. Soil pH can be lowered by organic acids associated with soil biota, or increased by the presence of carbonate bedrock, or by carbonates that accumulate in soils through the soil-forming process. The goal for this project is to determine how pH varies across the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW), in southeastern Idaho, with changes in soil organic and inorganic carbon content. Soil organic carbon is higher at higher elevation sites with increased vegetation and precipitation; conversely, soil inorganic carbon is higher in lower elevation, more arid sites. The data for this project comes from 28 soil pit sites in the RCEW. Samples were collected from six depths from each of these sites. The soil samples were then put through a 2 millimeter sieve to remove large rocks, roots, and debris. The pH was measured by combining a 1-to-1 ratio of 25 grams soil sample with 25 grams of deionized water. This study will assess how soil pH changes when compared with the organic and inorganic carbon content.

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