Student Projects - Biology
Fairfield University Stream Water Sampling
The objective of this project is to test 9 locations on campus for phosphorous, nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity, temperature, and pH to better understand the effects of campus maintenance on the campus stream.
We are particularly interested in ongoing factors such as grass fertilization in the warmer months and salts placed on the sidewalks in the winter. Since the project is fairly new, there is not enough data yet to draw conclusions on patterns based on seasonal maintenance. Therefore, the project must be consistent and ongoing for at least several years to come.
Each week, Steve and I collect samples and run them through colorimeter tests that use reagents to interact with phosphorus and nitrogen. This demonstrates the amount of each element in the water.
In the future, with enough data, we hope to be able to see the effects of campus maintenance on the streams to get a better understanding of the maintenance practices of Fairfield University. If the maintenance has relatively no effects on the University streams, then congratulations to them for eco-friendly maintenance practices. If the maintenance does have large effects on the streams, I personally hope to one day see the University change maintenance practices to more environmentally friendly practices. However, this is a long way off and will take much more research to determine.