Summer Research – the Bugs are out in Full Force

Cameron, Sarah and Rose spent several days in the field this week exploring sites for new research projects. At Goodwin College’s Keeney Cove property along the Connecticut River they battled forests of poison ivy and swarms of mosquitoes (Cameron’s magical shirt kept him bite free – Rose ended up with over 50 nibbles), where they looked at locations for long term floodplain monitoring with Goodwin’s Bruce Morton and Nels Barrett of the NRCS. They also visited Scott Smedley’s compost pile/stone wall research plots in Andover and surveyed invasive plant-filled forest sites for their potential to be restored as habitat for the nearly endangered New England cottontail rabbit.

NEGSA Conference Impressions

Dan and Justin at their poster

Daniel and Justin are both sophomores who have worked with Prof. Gourley for the last semester. They are preparing for a summer research project in the White Mountain National Forest, where they will study soil nutrient dynamics following clear cutting.

My poster presentation investigated the sediment of a stream reach that contained elevated levels of total mercury that were found during a wide-scale study of the Park River watershed,. I did not expect that many people,  to come, look at my poster, and ask about my study. Some were definitely challenging but others were very encouraging and absorbed. A meeting with Andy who works at the White Mountain National Forest about an upcoming research project went really well. Once again, I did not expect that many environmental scientists and geologists in one place and a lot of the posters and talks were informative, interesting, and really laid back. I had a great time skiing/snowboarding with Professor Gourley, Professor Bushey, and Justin.

At the conference, I discussed our future work with the White Mountains National Forest Department of New Hampshire to determine the levels of nutrients present in the soil of a section of forest before and after a clear cut takes  place.  The primary purpose of the research is to deduce whether there is a sufficient level of nutrients for a healthy forest to regrow.  Many listeners were very excited to see our results over the next few years.  In general, the experience was fun and educational.  Skiing with Professor Gourley and discussing our research with fellow students, Sama and Stephani.


NEGSA Conference Impressions

Jon Gourley presenting Linnea's poster

Linnea, a junior ENVS major conducted research with professor Gourley on heavy metal concentration in urban sediments. Unfortunately she could not attend the conference, so Jon had to do some extra work.

I designed a study to assess the trace metal concentrations in the fine-grained sediments in an urban stream. For this study I took grab samples periodically along the stream in order to locate hot spots and at the mouth of a sanitary sewer outflow (SSO) to determine if it is a source of contamination to the river. I also compared my samples to a previous study done that did detailed sampling at the mouth of the SSO, and to the sediment quality guidelines and probably effect concentrations. Ultimately I located one hot spot, and found that the current concentrations of trace metals were lower at the mouth of the SSO, compared to the past concentrations. I was unable to attend the 2013 Northeast GSA conference to present this research, but thankfully Professor Jonathan Gourley was willing to put in some extra work and present for me.


Trinity Students Present at Regional Geology Conference

Jon Gourley and I joined four of our students, Justin Beslity, Danel Hong,Stephani Roman and Sama Shresta on a trip to Bretton Woods, NH to attend the  Geological Society of America’s Northeast Section meeting.

The meeting took place in the historic Mount Washington Hotel (pictured above in the snow), and we spent three days attending talks, talking science and hanging out in a pretty fancy place.

Jon Gourley pondering some slight modifications to our oh-so-fancy digs in McCook Hall.

On Tuesday it got serious for the students: Sama, Justin and Dan were all presenting posters. Needless to say, they did great, and after a long day we all went up to nearby Fabyan Station for dinner.

Sama explaining her poster.

Dan and Justin talking to Dr. Lisa Doner, Plymouth State University

Dinner at Fabyan Station

On Wednesday morning Stephani convinced everybody that grass-fires are a really bad way to change the magnetic properties of soils and Jon Gourley convened a session on urban watersheds.

Stephani explaining her poster to Dr. Bob Darling, SUNY Cortland

In summary, we definitely had a few rough days, but, hey, somebody has to do it, right?

The flannel shirt boys in action. The girls were too fashion conscious to join us.
Dan fattening up for the long drive home: 2 burgers, 1 wrap, a shake and a large soda…