How Is Scientific Sampling Done? Duquesne to Demonstrate Methods for Monitoring at Wingfield Pines

Released: 10-Apr-2014 12:05 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)
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Newswise — How do scientists monitor water quality? What processes do they use to remediate contaminated water and land? How do they study fish?

Curious adults and children are invited to see science in action on Saturday, April 12, when Duquesne University, in collaboration with the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT), present Science: A Day with Duquesne at Wingfield Pines.

Since 2007, the University has been working with the Allegheny Land Trust to return the 80-acre former golf course and swim club in Upper St. Clair and South Fayette townships into a public recreation area, remediating the abandoned mine drainage into Chartiers Creek. On April 12, between noon and 5 p.m., the public will be able to watch the behind-the-scenes work facilitating this turnaround.

“An overwhelming majority of the public are interested in science and value scientific research,” said Ed Schroth, adjunct professor of biology who has long been involved with the project. “I have found that hikers and visitors at Wingfield do often ask and want to know more about our work there.”

The partnership with the University has brought monitoring, education and sustainability together, said ALT Stewardship Director Emilie Rzotkiewicz.

“The research Duquesne students provide to ALT supports our conservation work by reassuring us that our passive treatment system is working,” Rzotkiewicz said.

At the event, teams of undergraduate and graduate students will be:
• Sampling microbes: In researching nature’s ability to fix itself over time, Dr. Nancy Trun, associate professor of biology, and her students are beginning a long-term project to study the microbes involved in bioremediation, identify their metabolic capabilities and continue sampling throughout the year to determine if the concentration or identity of the microbes changes seasonally and impacts Chartiers Creek.
• Electrofishing Study: Dr. Brady Porter, associate professor of biology, and his team assess the ecosystem by sampling the fish populations in separate ponds and wetlands. Since 2010, the yearly electrofishing of ponds has comparisons of the diversity of the species and determining where different fish can adapt and survive.

• Monitoring water quality: Schroth and his students have collected and maintained data—pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, turbidity and alkalinity—on the passive filtering system since it was built.

Wingfield Pines Conservation Area is at 1550 Mayview Road, Upper St. Clair. Parking is at the bottom of the hill, through the upper gate.

Allegheny Land Trust helps local people save local land. ALT’s mission is to serve as the lead land trust conserving and stewarding lands that support the scenic, recreational and environmental well-being of communities in Allegheny County and its environs. Since 1993, ALT has protected over 1,600 acres in 23 municipalities. Please visit www.alleghenylandtrust.org to learn more about Allegheny Land Trust.

Contact: Lindsay Dill, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, (o) 412.741.2750 *206, (c) 814.460.7429

Duquesne University
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Its memberships include the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Contacts: Rose Ravasio, 412.396.6051/cell 412.818.0234
Karen Ferrick-Roman, 412.396.1154/cell 412.736.1877

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