Effects of NaCl and CaCl2 Salinity Stress on the Germination, Seedling and Root Morphology of Dalea Candida
Calcium chloride (CaCl2) and sodium chloride (NaCl) are commonly used de-icing agents that result in saline-contaminated soils. Little is known about the effects of CaCl2 on plant germination, growth, and development. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of CaCl2 and NaCl on germination and true leaf development of Dalea candida, a native legume of central North America. We further examined comparative effects on root growth and morphology at the initial germination phase. We used a controlled growth experiment consisting of various concentrations of NaCl (62.5mM and 125mM) and CaCl2 (31.25mM and 62.5mM) in soil and Petri dishes. While both salts exhibited negative trends, CaCl2 had less of an effect on the germination rate (64% at 31.25mM); however, aboveground true leaf development was stunted. NaCl at 62.5mM and 125mM exhibited a significantly lower mean root length and wider mean root diameter relative to comparable concentrations of CaCl2. Furthermore, only NaCl treatments significantly inhibited root hair presence. Our results indicate that while CaCl2 had less of a negative effect on initial germination, both salts stunt aboveground growth and development of D. candida seedlings via different mechanisms.
Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)
Faculty Mentor: Karen Christensen-Dalsgaard
Department: Biological Sciences
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