student research

I have had the opportunity to work with seniors on several research projects ranging from water quality effects on aquatic organisms to studying lyme disease in dogs. This year I am working with two biology major seniors, Arin Henry and James Kovach. Arin's capstone research is looking into patterns and prevalence of lyme disease in canines in the central New Hampshire and Vermont region. Arin is developing a data set from veterinary clinic records that she has started to querie for patterns and trends. One of the goals of Arin's work is to understand effectiveness of different lyme disease preventative treatments.

James Kovach has started his senior capstone research project investigating the effect of water quality and fish on rates of leaf decomposition in streams. James has built fish exclosures and will measure how rates of leaf loss will change when invertebrates can feed on the leaf material without the fish predators present and compare it to the controlled treatment where fish are present. James is also quantifying the effects of elevated dissolved organic carbon on rates of leaf decomposition. While it is known that microbial communities can be affected by increased labile dissolved carbon in stream water, little work has been done to see what affects it might have on higher trophic levels, such as the macroinvertebrates that feed on the leaf material and microbial community in streams.

Last year Hilary Trojano investigated the effects of a sewage treatment plant on the algal communities in the Sugar river where the wastewater treatment plant discharged. Another senior, Vanessa Mitchell, tested the response of salamander egg development to roadsalt. She performed a laboratory study that looked at egg development and survival rates under different salt concentrations.