I don't know about others who have had students do projects, but my
experience with "acid rain" projects is that they don't work well. The
worst thing about them has been the lack of any apparently meaningful
results, or the opposite of the expected results. That is, the "acid rain"
plants grow bigger/faster/better than the control plants. Now, one could
argue that this is all part of the learning experience in science, and I
certainly agree in principle. But for a project to be completed in a very
specified and short time, I prefer to suggest several topic areas where I
am pretty sure meaningful results are likely to be had, let the individual
student choose from those areas, and then help him/her further refine the
>I have another request for suggestions for a General Biology research team.
>I have a group who wants to investigate the effects of acid rain on grass.
>(Why grasses I don't know, but I like to let them go where they're
>interested). Their idea is to compare the effects of acid rain on grass
>from an area with acid rain to that from an area without acid rain. I
>don't really want to send for grasses from all around the country, and I'm
>not sure much has been done with grass species in relation to acid rain.
>Does anyone know anything about grasses and pH? Could you suggest species
>or varieties that might differ in their sensitivity to acidity (and that
>might be available in a garden supply store in Minneapolis/St.Paul?)
Esther G. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology
2211 Riverside Ave.
Minneapolis MN 55454 USA
612/330-1074 // FAX:612/330-1649