Publication Date

Aquatic biogeochemistry: Tracking Pollution in Fluvial Systems
Keck Geological Consortium
Award Date: 04/01/2014 | Award Amount: $11,000 | Effective Dates: 04/01/2014 – 03/31/2015
Project Personnel: Principal Investigator Anouk Verheyden-Gillikin (Geology)
Project Summary: During this four week project, students will research the distribution of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of fluvial systems in the Catskill and Schoharie regions of New York and pinpoint polluted areas. In the field, various types of benthic macroinvertebrates, different species of algae and water samples for dissolved inorganic carbon will be collected from various sites along different streams. Samples will be cleaned and prepared for analysis on an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. In addition, water samples will be collected and temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen (in situ) and alkalinity (in the lab) will be determined. Students will do all analyses themselves. The results will be used to develop a distribution map of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of several streams in the Catskills. The isotope map or ‘isoscape’ will be used to pinpoint areas of increased waste water discharge. This project is different from other Keck projects in that it is aimed at rising sophomores rather than rising seniors. The main aim of this project is to attract rising sophomores, in particular students from minority groups, to major in Geology. For this purpose, students will be exposed to a challenging topic with wide application potential (isotopes), collecting samples in the field and working with state of the art equipment in the lab (stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer).