Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Royal E. Shanks

Committee Members

Fred H. Norris, J. C. Howell


A study of the vascular aquatic plants in the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee was mad e during the summer of 1955. The purpose of this study was to find out the distribution of species in this area and try to learn some of the conditions under which the species involved survive. The species list for the area was arranged in alphabetical order under group headings according to the most frequently observed habit or position of growth. Under each species name the range and mean values determined for the carbon dioxide content, total acidity, total alkalinity, and pH of the surrounding water were given. These values appear to be characteristic for the species if they were determined from measurements at five or more sites.

The species observed may be divided into two groups on the basis of the pH of the water in which they grew. These groups are from moderately to highly basic and from slightly acid to slightly alkaline. The first group is sparsely represented on the Cumberland Plateau. The second group is made up of approximately fifty species.

Within the pH group the factors that seem to influence the type and amount of vegetation are introduction of the species which are not native, depth of water, movement of water, and the closely related bottom condition and structure.

The vegetation varies greatly in density as well as in species composition and abundance. This is probably due largely to chance dispersal and lodging of seeds and other plant propagules. The few closed stands which occur may be in either lakes, ponds, or streams. There are few bodies of water or very large parts of bodies of water which are without some kind of vascular plant growth.

Of the fifty-five species listed about twenty are widely distributed and ten others are locally abundant in parts of the area. The other twenty-five species are relatively sparse and unimportant as constituents in the vegetation of the area as a whole.

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