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Soil pH in Howard County

By: Tausif Khan, Sayak Maity, Jakob Boeye, and Max Shen
Topic ● Testing soil pH in several
locations in Howard
County
● Objective: to find out if
the average pHs of
different regions of HoCo
are the same
Glenelg Countryside (GC)

Miller Library (ML)

Centennial Park (CP)

Columbia Mall (CM)


● Soil pH is crucial to evaluating the
Introduction health of the environment
● The national average soil pH is 6.4
● The HoCo average is 6.1-6.4
● Soil pH is affected by a number of
factors, including pollution, local
flora, and climate
● It can be highly variable between
regions
Significance of Soil pH
● The pH affects how effectively a
plant can uptake nutrients
● The nutrients that a plant needs
varies from plant to plant, which
means that certain plants can
survive in more acidic or more
basic soil
● Radishes (4.5-5.5), Potatoes (4.8-
5.5), and Broccoli (5.5-7.0) are
able to grow in acidic soil
● Asparagus (6.0-8.0), Spinach (6.0-
7.5), and Tomatoes (5.5-7.5) are
able to grow in alkaline soil
● Used an electronic pH meter to
Procedure accurately measure the pH
● Tested from 4 different locations
chosen based on human activity:
Glenelg Countryside, Centennial
Park, Miller Library, and the
Columbia Mall
● Tested 6 randomly selected spots
(selected by computer program) at
both 3 inch and 6 inch depths
● This is a stratified random sample
Overall Soil pH Raw Data

Data

Soil pH
Data
Soil pH in Howard County (overall)

Miller Library . Centennial Park . Glenelg Countryside Columbia Mall .


Soil pH in Howard County (3-inch depth)

Miller Library . Centennial Park . Glenelg Countryside Columbia Mall .


Soil pH in Howard County (6-inch depth)

Miller Library . Centennial Park . Glenelg Countryside Columbia Mall .


Parameter: μ is the difference in
Parameter and average soil pH of the given regions
Hypothesis:
t-tests, each
H0: The sample mean of given groups
sample versus is the same
each other
HA: The sample mean of given groups
groups is different
Inefficient and First assumption, SRS— fulfilled

18 t-tests, each cumbersome, but fulfills


all required assumptions
Second assumption, Normally
distributed sample data— fulfilled
and produces intelligible
sample versus each results. Nonetheless
Third assumption, sample size—
small/medium
hard to derive
other conclusions from.
Fourth assumption, equal standard
deviations— approximately fulfilled
3-inch data
χ2 test of homogeneity
χ2 tests don’t work because
the assumption of expected
counts>5 is heavily violated
in many cells, as well as that
χ2 tests necessitate
counts/frequencies while our
data is continuous.

6-inch data
χ2 test of homogeneity
No clear, significant
χ2 and t: 3 inch vs. 6 inch difference between 3
inch depth sample pH
and 6 inch depth
sample pH. However,
assumptions for χ2 3 inch 6 inch
test and t-test are both
5.5 2 1
violated. Data for each
individual region 6 5 7
(boxplots, t-tests) says
otherwise. 6.5 6 5

t test 7 6 5

7.5 4 4
mean
difference 0.0242 8 1 2

t 0.1157 CHI^2 1.182

df 5
df 46
p 0.94659252
p 0.9084
Four Factor Anova
Test with
replication
Parameter: μ equals the average soil
Parameter and pH of all the regions
Hypothesis:
Four Factor ANOVA
H0: The sample mean of all groups is
(ANalysis Of the same
VAriance) Test with
replication HA: The sample mean of all groups is
different
Assumptions for ● Dependent variable is continuous-
fulfilled
ANOVA ● Independent variable consists of
at least two different groups-
fulfilled
● Samples are independent- fulfilled
● Distribution of residuals is normal-
see graph (fulfilled)
● No significant outliers-see graph
(fulfilled)
● Variances are homogenous
(homoscedastic)-see graph
(fulfilled)
First analysis - Sample
ANOVA Test H0: The means of the observations
grouped by location are the same
HA: The means of the observations
grouped by location are different
● The f-statistic is 32.671
Conclusion ● P(f*>32.671) = 7.64E-11
- first analysis ●

Let a=0.01
Since 7.64E-11 < 0.01, we will reject
the null hypothesis
● If we assume the null hypothesis that
the average pH for all the groups is the
same is true, than the results obtained
in this study will be observed 7.64E-11,
or close to 0% of the time. Since this is
improbable it is more likely that the
alternative hypothesis is true and that
the average pH of the groups is not the
same.
Second analysis - Columns
ANOVA Test H0: The means of the observations
grouped by depth are the same
HA: The means of the observations
grouped by depth are different
● The f-statistic is 0.403
Conclusion ● P(f*>0.403) = 0.8418
- second analysis ●

Let a=0.01
Since 0.8418 > 0.01, we will fail to
reject the null hypothesis
● If we assume the null hypothesis that
the average pH for all the groups is the
same is true, than the results obtained
in this study will be observed about
84.18% of the time. Since this is very
probable, we are unable to reject the
null hypothesis that the means of the
observations grouped by depth are
statistically the same
Since the samples are not in the same

t-tests vs the distribution, they must be analyzed


independently. Two of the (overall) locations have

national mean of extremely low p-values, meaning their mean is


not 6.4 with statistical significance. The means of

6.4 pH one of these locations (Centennial Park) are


within the healthy range, while the means of the
other (Columbia Mall) are well outside of the
First assumption, SRS— fulfilled healthy range.
Second assumption, Normally
distributed sample data— fulfilled
Third assumption, sample size—
small/medium
Fourth assumption, equal standard
deviations— approximately fulfilled
● The pHs were not uniform in any
Conclusions way
● The mall pH was significantly
higher than any others
● This could be due to differences in
the amount of pollution exposure
each region receives, or just
natural variation
● Since this study was not an
experiment there is no way to
establish causation and further
research should be done
● It rained right before data was
Problems collected in Glenelg. Rain has a slightly
acidic pH and could have skewed the
samples towards a lower pH value
● The size of the regions we collected
data from were quite different. Smaller
sized regions (the Mall and Library)
could be more influenced by local
pollution i.e. runoff from a single car
● There was no quantitative evidence
that any of the 4 regions were really
different in terms of pollution exposure
Importance in ● To understand what kind
today’s society of plants can grow in this
environment
● To see how easily plants
can take up nutrients
from the soil
● To assess the amount of
pollution a region is being
exposed to
The End
http://www.agrobest.com.au/news/How-Soil-pH-affects-avail
Sources ability-of-plant-nutrients-7.htm

http://www.cropnutrition.com/efu-soil-pH

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MANUSCRIPTS
/maryland/MD027/0/MDHoward5_08.pdf