Active research opportunities
Microplastics in urban streams
This project is an ongoing project that is actively recruiting for Summer 2024. Application here.
The investigation of microplastics in aquatic ecosystems has been a surging area of research that has recently began expanding to include freshwater systems. Many urban watersheds are comprised of small streams that can be the entry point of plastic waste. We are interested to learn how microplastics are being incorporated and impacting the ecosystems before they migrate to larger tributaries and make their way to our oceans. We are investigating if and how microplastics are settling into the substrate of urban streams that exhibit flashy hydrography, if and how much microplastics are present in the water column, if and how are microplastics are accumulating in the fishes of urban streams that exhibit a variety of diet strategies, and what the relationships may be across these ecological levels.
Students will gain experience developing an independent research project, fisheries sampling methods, species identification, dissection and internal anatomy identification skills, basic laboratory skills, fish aging, and data analysis
Students will have the opportunity to present their findings at local and regional scientific conferences.
Biodiversity of urban watersheds
In collaboration with the Upper Mississippi Center and the City of Davenport, we have been collecting and establishing a biodiversity database of the aquatic fauna in the Duck Creek watershed of Davenport, IA and tributaries of the Rock River in Rock Island and Moline, IL.
Students gain experience implementing traditional fisheries methods, such as seining and dip-netting, to capture organisms, develop identification skills, and learn how to document and organize data.
*All handling of organisms are completed under approved permits*
Fynn Greene and Zack Horve completed independent research projects with the Upper Mississippi Center during Summer 2023. I was one of the mentors that summer and assisted students on how to develop an idea and implement a project. Fynn was interested in parasite composition and interaction in urban streams, and Zack was interested in riparian zone management and the influence of a riparian zone on urban streams. Their work were presented at the Southeastern Fisheries Council conference in Chattanooga, TN in November 2023.