The Duckweed Project

Lemna minor and Rhopalosiphum nymphaeae
Duckweed with aphids

The Duckweed Project provides students with an inquiry-based experience to science.  Students are introduced to duckweed communities through a pre-planned class experiment.  This is followed by individualized experiments planned and carried out by students in small groups.  Finally, written reports are shared with students at other schools through the Duckweed Paper Exchange.

The Duckweed Paper Exchange is a website that mimics a science journal, but is targeted to student papers on duckweed experiments. It guides reading of prior student projects, facilitates collaborative writing, and hosts student reports for future viewing. Contributions include the full range from elementary students to college students.  Contact Chad Brassil to setup the Duckweed Paper Exchange for use with your class.

Undergraduate Courses

An undergraduate lab has been developed for use in a second-year ecology course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The pre-structured portion over the first week examines density dependent, or logistic growth.  Students then design their own experiments instigation a question related to population growth.  A number of these student-led investigations already exist in the Duckweed Paper Exchange.

This lab can be adapted for use at other colleges & universities.


Duckweed communities consist of multiple species. At the base of the community is one or more species of duckweed, a small floating plant about the size of a pencil eraser. In addition, insects specialize in eating duckweed, including a species of aphid, weevil, fly, and moth.