1995 Senior Project Abstracts

Name: Nedzad Ajanovic
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors E. Pallant and T. Goliber

Title: Comparison of Root Lengths and Densities Between an Intercropped System of Corn and Soybeans with that of the Monoculture of These Crops

Abstract:  It has been documented that in an intercropping system, the interaction between legumes and non-legumes occurs both above ground and below ground (Willey et al., 1981, p.11). This relationship can be positive for both crops. The interaction above ground could suppress the spread of insects and diseases among legumes and non-legumes (Rodale, 1987, p.18), and non-legumes may provide windbreak (Cruse, 1990, p.107), as well as shade the legumes from sun during their early development. The evidence of N transfer from legumes to non-legumes that may result in increased yields (Aggarwal et al., 1992, p.7l) and the evidence of reduction of soil erosion (Francis et al., 1986, p.159) are both positive underground interactions. These evidence are good for the environment because they may help reduce fertilizer and pesticide use.

The goal of this project is to determine whether an intercropped system of corn (Zea mays L.) and soybeans (Glycine max L.) will produce an overyield of roots compared to the monocultures of these plants.

In a single plot at Bradford Farm, which is the University of Missouri’s Agronomy Research Center near Columbia, M), on a Mexico silt loam soil (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Udollic Ochranqualf), soil samples were collected during the summers of 1993 and 1994 at the following sample sites: corn monocrop, corn-soybean intercrop, and soybean monocrop. There were 5 plots in year 1 and 3 plots in year 2. The 7.62 x 7.62 cm soil core was used to collect five depths of a sample. In the lab, the roots were extracted from the soil using both the Hand method and the Fine Root Extraction Device (FRED) method. The root lengths and areas of each subsample were measured using the AgVision system, The land equivalent ration (LER) values, root length density (RLD) values, the values for percent water content (Dry Weight), and a Three Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used in the methods.

After performing T tests (LSD) for variable RLD between different samples (corn, mixed, and soybean) we found that there was a significant difference (P < 0.95) only in year 1 between corn and soybean samples. The value of Pd> F was 0.0008 after the natural logarithm of our dependent variable was taken. Treatment of depth was statistically significant in both years. The values of Pr> F for depth in both years were 0.0001 after the natural logarithm of our dependent variable was taken. Water content was the factor which was statistically significant only in year 2. The value of Pr> F was 0.0201 when the natural logarithm of our dependent variable was taken. Year 2 was a drier year, which may suggest that water matters in dry years. When RLD was plotted against % water content, were found out that as root length goes up, the water content goes down. In the regions where the water content is low, a plant responds by growing more roots.

The values, according to the depth of RLD, for both years seem to conclude that intercropping corn and soybeans produced no signs of over yielding of roots and our hypothesis is not supported. The LER values, which partly suggest otherwise, needed to be ignored due to the assumption made in our methods which may make LER values less precise and thus less valid.

Name: Christopher Anderson
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Maniates and L. Pallansch

Title: Links for the future: NGOs, empowerment, and sustainable development

Abstract: The end of the Cold War has revealed many challenges facing the world faces in relation to the development of impoverished nations of the South. International leaders have also realized that aid and development strategies of the past were ineffective; they did not reach the truly needy individuals. It has also come to the attention of global leaders that development of these nations cannot occur in the same fashion as it occurred in currently industrialized nations, such as the United States, Germany, and Japan. Sustainable development is promoted as offering environmentally friendly strategies and techniques for development of LDCs in the future. Empowerment of the people in LDCs is needed to help ensure the success of development programs as well as giving them alternatives to their often environmentally damaging, subsistence lifestyles. Reaching out to the people is necessary to ensure that development programs will be more effective. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are able to reach down to the people in ways that conventional development strategies were unable to do. NGOs actively involve local populations in empowerment activities such as local capacity building projects, local and national political movements, and social activities as well. Empowering women in politics, the home and the community level is necessary since oppression of women and their roles played in society can have direct negative effects on the environment. This thesis first presents links among poverty, environmental degradation, and the need for sustainable development through empowerment of the poor. Secondly, NGOs are examined as promising alternatives to conventional strategies for development and an effective means for working with, empowering, and reaching out to the poor. The third focus of the thesis entails NGOs work through strategy and case studies in capacity building, political movements for freedom, and empowerment of women using techniques and strategies explored in previous chapters.

Name: Brian J. Barca
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer, M. Lord and A. Sheffield

Title: The effects of precipitation on the movement of Atrazine through soil in field conditions.

Abstract: This experiment was conducted to examine the rate and the extent to which atrazine would move through soil with respect to depth over time with variations in the amount of precipitation under field conditions. It was expected that the atrazine would move relatively faster and deeper with an increase in the amount of precipitation received. Atrazine was applied to six 1 ml x 1 m plots with three levels of natural and/or supplemented precipitation. Soil cores were taken at 0-15 cm, 15-25 cm, 25-35 cm, and 35-50 cm and analyzed for atrazine content on a Gas Chromatograph.

With this experimental design it was not possible to find statistically significant results, thus no concrete conclusions could be found. Despite this fact, there were several trends that were recognized. Using a sub-set of data there was a significant movement of atrazine into the deeper soil over time. The results suggested that in the natural precipitation more atrazine appeared to remain in the upper soil layers; but the data points were scattered and the trends are not easily recognized. Since the results were too scattered to statistically analyze the data in this experiment another study should be done to ensure that the results can be better analyzed.

Name: Jeffrey T. Blank
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Lord and T. Dougan

Title: How is Road Salt, Dispersed on Interstate 79, Transported from the Road to the Water in Van Home Creek and in Which Path is Most of the Salt Concentrated?

Abstract: The methods of transport of road salt from an interstate to a local creek was examined. The study was conducted from November 1994 through February 1995 at a site located adjacent to Interstate 79 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Van Home Creek, which runs parallel to the interstate was also incorporated into the study. The Van Home Creek area consists of a rural setting that allows the entire system to respond over a longer period of time. Routes of the transport of road salt, including groundwater, subsurface water flow, soil, and splash were samples and analyzed in an attempt to determine where salt was most concentrated takes in its transport from the interstate to the creek. To sample groundwater and subsurface water flow monitoring wells were used that collected the used for splash and airborne particles. Twenty-nine sampling dates were incorporated into the study. The concentration of each substance, sodium and chloride, was analyzed for its concentration in parts per million (ppm). These routes of transportation were examined with respect to the air temperature, precipitation, and amount of salt applied to understand how the system reacted. Both sodium and chloride concentrations were examined to detect the movement of salt through the system. All of the sodium values were used but, chloride values were less relied upon for evaluation of the system because they were deemed invalid.

The greatest concentration of salt was transported from road to creek by subsurface waterflow. This flow occurs approximately 0.3048 to 0.4572 meters beneath the surface. Overall, not a large concentration of salt was transported through the system. This is largely due to the Van Home Creek setting, an alternative is an urban paved system, in which large amounts of runoff cause an immediate response. The area around Van Home Creek allowed the system to buffer itself more effectively than an urban system because salt was able to enter into the soil, sodium could then exchange with other elements thus decreasing the amount that could affect the system. The variable that affected the response, as expected, was the amount of salt applied per area per event. More salt applied yielded more salt transported through the system. Within a few days of a salting event concentrations rose in the samples and then fell to a pre-salting level until the next salting event. Temperature and precipitation did not play a large role in the response of the system to salting.

Name: Jason Brakeman
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science and Philosophy
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Maniates and E. Grimbergen

Title: Unbroken Chain: Deep Ecology, Hinduism and Environmental Ethics

Abstract: The purpose of this senior comprehensive project is to explore how two separate types of metaphysical conceptions of the universe can be developed into an ethical position for guiding interaction between humans and nature. This is done primarily for the purpose of bringing the attention of environmental philosophers to hinduism’s ideas. This is simply because Indian philosophical ideas are typically understood to be rather inconsistent with the goals which these philosophers seek.

This paper is basically a comparison between the metaphysical ideas borrowed from the philosophers from the contemporary ecological movement known as Deep Ecology and the metaphysical ideas developed within the sect of hinduism known as Kashmiri Saivism. Once this comparison is made, a characterization of the ethical standpoint of each is contrasted with respect to human interaction of the environment. An attempt is then made to demonstrate how each of these different types of metaphysical systems are developed into ethical systems which actually prescribe similarly non-destructive interaction with the environment.

The description of the metaphysical view of Deep Ecology is given in a generalized form so as to cover many of the different concepts of its metaphysics while exploring the types of metaphysical assumptions of modern science from which it is an attempt to escape. The general character of these assumptions concerns the deterministic, reductionistic, mechanistic,and materialistic model for understanding nature. The other main assumption which it is shown to be an escape from is that which claims that humans are free willed beings who are not determined by their physical surroundings in terms of either their thought or choices.

The description of the metaphysical view of Kashmiri Saivism is explained by way of a contrast between itself and the metaphysical ideas of Vedanta (another form of hinduism) and a comparison with those previously aligned with Deep Ecology. The distinction (between Saivism and Vedanta) is characterized as being primarily in terms of the conception of the nature of the relationship between the world of experience and the Absolute. The comparison is made between the idea of this relationship being stated as experience occurring within the Absolute (for Saivism) and the idea in Deep Ecology which states that experience is determined by every experiential level which is possible within the totality of the universe. The contrast is then made between the Saivist conception of human will as being the Absolute and the conception of human will be Deep Ecologists which states that human will is determined by the Absolute.

The ethical ideas of each are compared and contrasted by showing that Deep Ecology insists on understanding nature as an expansion of ourselves and hence attempts to limit harm to natural ecosystems while Saivism promotes a life in which the physical world is unharmed simply because the good for ourselves is internal rather than external. In this way it is shown that Saivism prescribes an environmentally harmonious ethical ideal.

Name: Melissa Ann Bules
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer and S. Wissinger

Title: The Effects of Tomatine and Tannin on the Tobacco Hornworm’s, Manduca sexta, Tolerance to Bacillus thuringiensis

Abstract: The purpose of this experiment was to determine if the tomato allelochemicals tomatine and tannin affect the tolerance of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta, to the bacterial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis. It was predicted that by observing how the three chemicals interact, a clearer understanding of the modes of action of the chemicals involved.

The Manduca larvae were subjected to food contaminated with the allelochemicals, and were then given food contaminated with Bt. Growth rate and percent mortality were measured to determine the effects of the chemicals on the Manduca ‘s tolerance to Bt.

The results showed that tannin alone had no affect on growth rates, but tomatine did significantly decrease the growth rate. There was no significant change between the Bt treatment and the Bt and tannin treatment or the Bt and tomatine treatment. Although there were no significant differences, the tomatine data trends showed an antagonistic effect for tomatine on Bt. The percent mortality data supports the results of the growth rate data. The tomatine and Bt treatment has a higher percent mortality than the Bt treatment alone.

The results would support the hypothesis that tannins do not perform well when introduced into the environment of a high pH that is present in the gut of the Manduca larvae. The results for tomatine would suggest that tomatine is acting as an antibiotic, killing the Bacillus bacteria before they release their toxin.

Name: April Claus
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Ostrofsky and J. Palmer

Title: The Effects of the Plant Alkaloid alpha-tomatine and the pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis var. san diego on the Growth Rate of Tenebrio molitor

Abstract: It is hypothesized that plants contain a number of chemicals or alkaloids which may act as a natural defense mechanism against herbivorous insects. It is thought that the toxicity of these natural alkaloids can be influenced by a number of pesticides or biopesticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis. The purpose of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that the combination of the biopesticide B. t. var. san diego (m-Trak) and the plant alkaloid alphatomatine will exhibit a synergistic effect and result in slowed growth rates in Tenebrio molitor when compared to controls. In order to test this hypothesis mealworms were raised in wheat bran containing alpha-tomatine only, Bt only and Bt & alpha-tomatine as well as controls and weighed every three days for an 18 day period. Results showed that under suboptimal conditions starvation control experienced the greatest weight loss while the alphatomatine + Bt group experienced the least weight loss, thus suggesting an antagonistic effect, rather than a synergistic one.

Name: Andrea L. Craig
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors S. Wissinger and M. Stevens

Title: A Study of the Feasibility of Designing and Implementing a Corridor Project in Crawford County, Pennsylvania

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of designing and implementing a corridor project for Crawford County. Helimund’s (1993) corridor design framework was used to first examine Crawford County’s biological, water, recreational. historical, and archaeological resources. Much of the county’s biodiversity is found in the streams and wetlands, and this biodiversity is concentrated in the highest quality waters. These waters also provide recreational opportunities, as well as historical sites. Many archaeological sites have also been located in these areas. All of these natural resources are threatened by habitat fragmentation and increasing urban development.

The corridor design framework was also used to select project goals and several swaths for more detailed study. By using natural landform boundaries the corridor concept allows for efficient resource conservation. Many areas, such as the Erie National Wildlife refuge and the State Game Lands, are already managed for conservation and could form part of a corridor. In addition, linear landscape elements such as ridgelines could form the spine of a corridor.

Several corridors could be designed in Crawford County. But, the three most important that this study has identified are 1) a conservation corridor along French Creek and its tributaries, 2) a series of conservation corridors along streams and wetlands, and 3) a series of conservation corridors along ridgelines. This study recommends that Crawford County implement these corridors, form an Environmental Advisory Council, emphasize conservation educational efforts, perform more studies on species of special concern, etc.

Name: Annamarie Cressman
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors E. Pallant and S. Wissinger

Title: Companion Planting: Fact or Folklore

Abstract: Companion planting is an alternative gardening technique incorporated to enhance the growth and yield of plants in lieu of pesticides and insecticides. This experiment in companion planting of tomatoes was conducted in a small garden plot in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The companions incorporated to promote the yield, weight, and prohibit predation of the tomatoes were carrots, marigolds, and chives, which were selected for their known pest deterring characteristics. Three raised beds, ten feet by three feet, were constructed with eight tomato plants and the predetermined corresponding companion. There were four treatments in this experiment; tomatoes with carrots, tomatoes with marigolds, tomatoes with chives, and tomatoes planted alone. The overall yield, weight and predation of each plant and treatment was analyzed through ANOVA statistical analysis. There was no significant difference in overall yield, weight, or predation regardless of the presence of a companion on the basis of treatment or individual plant. Contrary to the researched literature, no one companion had a greater deterring capability for the individual tomato plant, and the incorporation of companion plants in lieu of pesticides or insecticides had no significant deterring results in this experiment.

Name: Jill A. Engel
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science and Psychology
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer, R. Clark and S. Rankin

Title: The Effects of Methoprene on Maternal Behaviors of the Ring-Legged Earwig, (Euborellia annulipes)

Abstract: This experiment investigated the effects of the juvenile hormone, methoprene, on the maternal behaviors of the ring-legged earwig, Euborellia annulipes. It was hypothesized that when the synthetic juvenile hormone analogue, methoprene, was topically applied to female earwigs post-oviposition, the period and quality of maternal behavior would be significantly reduced. Three different experiments investigated this hypothesis.

Zero day, adult female earwigs were mated with post-teneral male earwigs. On day zero of oviposition, the females were removed from their nests, and received one of four treatments: no treatment, acetone, 250 ppm methoprene, of 25000ppm methoprene, both delivered in acetone. Each female was placed with her nest (water vial), in a large sand filled, plastic container (16x16x7.25 cm) after receiving her respective treatment. On days one, two four, six and eight of oviposition, each female was removed from her nest. Fifteen minutes later, the female was placed into the corner of the large plastic container, and the seconds until first nest reentry, seconds until permanent nest reentry, total seconds in nest, percent permanently stayed in nest, and percent alive were determined. The data were analyzed using a two-day ANOVA Kuels multiple comparison test α p < 0.05, with repeated measures on both variables, one within and one between, and a Chi Squared analysis of variance α p <0.05.

The data from experiment one, two, and three did not strongly support the original hypothesis. The seconds to first reentry, seconds until permanent reentry, and total seconds in nest data from experiments one and two were all insignificant, while there were some basic trends in the data for experiment three. There was a slight increase in the total number of seconds that the female earwig spent in her nest on subsequent days one to days eight and several other statistically significant treatment, day, and treatment-day interaction effects, that approached significance. However, many of these results contradicted the original hypothesis.

Suggestions for further research include isolating confounding variables, such as a possible ice effect or isolation effect and continuing to monitor subsequent F2 generations to determine if methoprene disrupted previously established patterns of maternal behavior.

Name: Stephanie Feldhousen
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Biology and Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors S. Wissinger, M. Ostrofsky and J. Palmer

Title: An investigation of the effects of pH, aluminum precipitate, and periphyton densities on benthic invertebrate populations in Paradise Basin, Colorado

Abstract: Paradise Creek, located in Gunnison County, Colorado, is contaminated with a white aluminum bicarbonate precipitate, and exhibits elevated dissolved aluminum concentrations and lowered pH. Additionally, primary production and benthic invertebrate communities are reduced or eliminated in several reaches of the stream. The goals of this study were (1) to determine if the source of aluminum and acidity is the result of mining or is a result of natural weathering, (2) attempt to generate longitudinal relationships along a length of Paradise Creek between the effects of pH, dissolved aluminum, and precipitate presence on benthic invertebrate densities and species richness, and (3) to experimentally extricate the effects of pH, aluminum precipitate, and periphyton abundance on growth and survival of the mayfly Cinygmula spp. The stream acidity and metal contamination was determined to be the result of natural weathering and not acid mine drainage. Low pH was found to negatively affect Cinygmyla spp. survival, but precipitate presence or food limitation did not affect survival, and none of these factors affected growth within the 7 day experiment. Total colonization rates were negatively influenced by low pH and low periphyton densities in high pH environments, though these results varied when subdivided into taxa. Species richness of colonizers was also negatively influenced by lowered pH and by precipitate presence, but not periphyton densities. Water quality data showed no detectable amounts of dissolved aluminum at the experimental sites, so dissolved aluminum was eliminated as a factor of survival or colonization. In the longitudinal analysis, at sites with high precipitate amounts (>8g/m1), pH was independent of invertebrate density, but at low precipitate sites (<2.5g/m2), pH was weakly positively correlated with increased invertebrate densities. Dissolved aluminum was also found to be highly correlated with pH, so it was dropped from longitudinal analysis.

Name: Jennifer Groat
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors T. Bensel and M. Maniates

Title: Analysis of Sewage Disposal Options for West Mead Township, Crawford County, PA

Abstract: This Senior Thesis researches the proposed changes to both the City of Meadville’s and West Mead Township’s Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) as well as the option of Solar Aquatic Septage Treatment. West Mead Township, located in Crawford County, Western Pennsylvania, had a 1990 population of 5,401, occupying 2,132 homes. It is a rural area with limited access to municipal sewage treatment facilities. For that reason, septic tanks are at present time the most viable option for homeowners. However, according to the West Mead Township (WMT) Office 99.5% of the area has “moderate to severe” limitations, such as soil types, on the use of septic systems. At the same time, the treatment plant in the township is nearly at its peak capacity so this too limits options for the residents. It was found that the user fees as well as the number of homes to receive sewage treatment will be much more favorable if the plan to upgrade the City’s plant to include West Mead Township’s service area is chosen. Under that plan, if Penn VEST Financing is utilized, the cost per month per estimated dwelling unit (EDU) would be $24.67 for all residents of West Mead and Meadville. The most economical solution that would allow the Township to retain its own STP would be accompanied by a user fee of $27.25 per month for EDU, which would have been supplemented by an up-front capital contribution of $750 from each customer as well as the levying of a surcharge on existing sewer rates. Solar Aquatics is a non-polluting alternative that should be considered in the future.

Name: Jill M. Heimbuch
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Ostrofsky and S. Wissinger

Title: The Effects of Nitrogen Addition on Litter Decomposition in a Deciduous Forest Ecosystem

Abstract: This study was focused on the effects of nitrogen addition on littler decomposition in a deciduous forest ecosystem. The study was conducted in Bousson Experimental Forest in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Three 15m x 15m quadrants were fertilized with ammonium nitrate at the rate of l00kgN/ha/yr in monthly installments from May through November 1995. Three other quadrants were left unfertilized as controls.

During the 5 month experiment, litter decomposition was monitored as a function of detrital mass loss, CO2 evolution C:N ratios, and soil invertebrate population structures. Detritus, CO2, and C:N samples were collected once or twice monthly and invertebrate samples were collected once a week for the last five weeks of the experiment. No significance was found for the fertilizer effect for any of these tests, leading to the conclusion that nitrogen addition had no impact upon litter decomposition. Time had a significant effect upon changes in litter decomposition across all parameters. Possible explanations for these results are: not enough fertilizer was used, nitrogen was not added frequently enough, not enough samples were collected, or the experiment was not run long enough for the effect of nitrogen to be seen.

Name: Stacy Hildebrant
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Maniates and M. Stevens

Title: Making Recycling More Effective in Crawford County

Abstract: Rural recycling issues are explored in an analysis of recycling legislation, pertinent economic and political factors, and public attitudes of recycling in order to find ways to improve Crawford County’s recycling program, as well as rural Pennsylvania recycling programs in general. In rural area, due to the distance between residences, it is not economically feasible to implement curbside recycling, therefore this study recommends establishing permanent recycling drop-off centers throughout rural counties. This study argues developing markets is the biggest barrier that must be overcome in order to recycling to become more effective. If markets are developed, then adequate supplies of materials could be controlled, transportation costs could be reduced, and prices received for the materials improved. Government intervention can help with practices such as developing markets, incorporating product disposal costs, and encouraging and using recycled products, but requiring manufacturers to use a certain percentage of recyclable materials in most cases does more harm than good. Therefore government intervention can help in some areas of recycling, but may actually hurt others. This study asserts education can help solve the other two biggest barriers to recycling, contamination and purchase of recycled products. Through education consumers and businesses can be made aware of the value of using recycling products and how to recycle, reduce, and reuse their waste. Education is a necessary component of any recycling program whether it is drop-off or curbside collection.

Name: Keri Holleb
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Political Science and Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors G. Wayland-Smith, T. Bensel and Dr. M. Maniates

Title: Rethinking Development

Abstract: This research examines an emerging alternative to industrial development explored through an analysis of the AMISCONDE Project in Costa Rica. Surprisingly, the project is a joint initiative of the McDonald’s Corporation, Conservation International and Clemson University. The novel linkage between a non-governmental environmental organization and a multi-national corporation is an interesting experiment in both the fields of conservation and development. The lending practices of the World Bank and other development institutions created during the late 1940s and early 1950s, are also examined. Revealed through this inquiry is the widespread faith in modernization which characterized the early post World War II period. This study contends that the AMISCIONDE Project’s philosophy begins to question the basic tenets of modernity, presenting an example of people-centered development. This new vision of development is offered up as an appealing alternative to industrial development.

Name: Zachary Holm
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Lord, R. Cole and J. Palmer

Title: Water Quality Analysis of French Creek at Meadville and Franklin, Pennsylvania: 1973 to 1993

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to determine the effect, if any, land use had on the concentrations of phosphate, nitrate and ammonium in French Creek, in two locations between 1973 and 1993.

French Creek, noted for its water purity and diversity of species, is located in northwestern Pennsylvania. This study utilized data collected over a twenty year period by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, as well as a variety of sources to determine land use. Two sample sites were utilized, one representing northern two-thirds of the basin and one representing the entire basin.

Spatial analysis between the two sites revealed consistently revealed higher concentrations for all chemicals in the upstream site. This has been attributed to large volumes of effluent from the Meadville sewage treatment plant.

Analysis of chemical and historic land use data indicate several preliminary results. 1) Long term changes in phosphate concentrations were directly resulting from changes in phosphorus fertilizer application. 2) There are seasonal patterns in phosphate concentration that have an inverse relationship with stream discharge-higher in the winter and lower in the summer. 3) Long term changes in nitrate concentration resulted from increases in sewage effluent in the basin and large changes in the application of nitrogen fertilizers. 4) Seasonal changes in nitrate concentration resulted from a direct relationship with stream discharge producing a high and a low concentration period each year. 5) No explanations for long term ammonium concentration trends were discovered. Seasonal changes in ammonium concentrations resulted from a direct relationship with stream discharge in conjunction with microbial activities, resulting in three tiers of concentration each year.

Name: David J. Hornyak
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors R. Bowden, M. Lord and E. Pallant

Title: Sewage Sludge and Agricultural Soils: Determining Optimum Levels of Sewage Sludge Application

Abstract: The United States produces in excess of 6 million metric tons of sewage sludge annually. One safe, feasible sludge management technique is recycling it to benefit agricultural purposes. This experiment was designed using municipal sewage sludge added to agricultural soils to determine the optimum conditions for growth. The experiment consisted of two species of grasses, Phelum pratense L. (Timothy), and Secale Cereale L (Winter Rye), grown in five distinct sludge treatments, 0 Mg/ha, 72 Mg/ha, 114 Mg/ha, 136 Mg/ha. The grasses were analyzed for the variable of Above Ground Biomass, Below Ground Biomass, Root to Shoot Ratios, Total Root Length, Total Root Area, and Carbon and Nitrogen Composition. There were three replications of each of the five treatments grown in the greenhouse in a randomized complete block design for six weeks.

Winter Rye produced 40 times more biomass than Timothy under each condition. The results indicate that the 72 Mg/ha treatment consistently emerged as the optimum sludge treatment for total biomass production and also to Total Root Lengths and Total Root Areas in the control treatment which also produced the greatest Root to Shoot Ratios for both species. Winter Rye in treatments 98 Mg/ha, 114 Mg/ha, and 136 Mg/ha had a greater Nitrogen Content, while the highest carbon/nitrogen ratios were produced by Winter Rye plants in the control treatment.

Planting grasses on agricultural soils in a laboratory setting allows for inspection of fundamental growth variables under controlled conditions. Based upon this study, applications of sewage sludge at a rate of 72 Mg/ha to agricultural soils will maximize biomass productivity.

Name: John Jacob III
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer and R. Bowden

Title: The Effects of Atrazine on Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) Behavior and Growth Rate

Abstract: The objective of this study was to measure the effects of atrazine on earthworm behavior and growth rate in laboratory experiment. Experiment 1 studied the behavior of earthworms in soil containing atrazine at three concentrations of 1X, 2X, 4X where X was the recommended field application rate of 2.5 lbs/acre and a control was paired with each concentration. Results showed that earthworms did not preferentially migrate out of, or into, atrazine soils for all concentrations. Experiment 2 measured growth rates of groups of six worms over the course of the 30 day behavior experiment. Growth rates were negative for all treatments in experiment 2, suggesting that rearing conditions were suboptimal. However, under these conditions a dose-dependent effect was observed for 3 focused on growth rates of individuals rather than groups of worms. Worms were reared in soil containing atrazine concentrations as in the previous experiments, as well as an additional treatment at l0X concentration. Again all worms decreased in weight, but worm weight decreased the most is 4X and 10X concentrations of atrazine. If farmers add atrazine to their crops at recommended concentrations there should not be any adverse affects to worms. If farmers do apply atrazine at rates of 2X and 4X the recommended application rate, problems could evolve affecting worm growth.

Name: Terralyn Jones
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors R. Bowden and K. Skuldt

Title: Benefit-Cost Analysis of Lowering Indoor Air Toxicity in a Home

Abstract: This analysis examines the feasibility of converting the air quality of a normal home to one that is less chemically toxic in quality. The purpose of this project was born out of a recent and controversial concern over a medical disorder known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. This project is a beginning step in preventing or lowering the risk of health problems related to chemical hazards and toxins found in the home. From this study, results show that lowering the chemical toxicity of a home is feasible to some degree at any level. Measures of prevention include elimination, separation, and substitution of chemically toxic products for safer ones. Installation of equipment is necessary in some cases. The degree of detoxification is variable and dependent on the values and opinions of the party involved in the project as well as the amount of resources available to make a conversion. The specific hypothetical family in this study is successful in achieving some degree of improvement, but is limited in some ways due to lack of funds and the utilization of these funds over time.

Name: Lisa A. Klingensmith
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors S. Wissinger and E. Pallant

Title: Options for the Disposal of Sewage Sludge in Crawford County, Pennsylvania

Abstract: This senior project proposed to examine the history of Crawford County’s sewage sludge disposal methods, options for disposing of sewage sludge which are being implemented today and the legislation governing the disposal of sewage sludge in an effort to propose a disposal method for the sewage sludge produced by Meadville’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Before the implementation of The Solid Waste Management Act (Act 97) in 1990, the WWTP in Meadville was giving its sludge away to farmers for fertilizer. But it was the enactment of Act 97 which resulted in the plant’s switch from land applying sewage sludge to landfill disposal. After researching the methodology of and scientific risk related to the disposal methods of land application, composting, wetlands, landfills and incineration, I then examined the regulations governing each of these methods. With knowledge of both the science and the political aspects of present sewage sludge disposal methods, it is my recommendation that the sewage sludge produced by the WWTP located in Meadville, Pennsylvania be composted and land applied (and/or beneficially used). Future projects should look at the third component which I chose to consider but not to weigh heavily upon, that being the economic aspect of sewage sludge disposal. From my experiences in composing this senior thesis, it is not likely that land application would be an economically limiting choice for Crawford County. While composting requires more financial support, it is an investment well worth making; for investment in this method allows for long-term returns.

Name: Kristen Laurel
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors T. Bensel and M. Ostrofsky

Title: Aquatic Weed Control in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania

Abstract: This document is a complete study of Conneaut Lake, including its history, current aquatic weed control problems, opinions of both lake patrons and residents concerning the degree of the problem, and feasible control strategies. Presented is a review of the methods currently available for aquatic weed control and a possible management plan for Conneaut Lake in the future. According to a majority of respondents in this study, Conneaut Lake is aesthetically unpleasing and environmentally and recreationally unsafe for use. Comparisons with other similar lakes in the region (Edinboro, Tamarack and Canadohta) garnered information was used for reference to Conneaut Lake along with the knowledge accumulated from other various aquatic weed control experiments done in the past to lakes within this area. This information aided in formulating a lake management plan designed to simultaneously preserve the environment without adding undesirable elements such as chemicals while catering to all patrons of the lake from anglers to skiers, swimmers and boaters.

Name: Craig Malagise
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer, E. Pallant and A. Sheffield

Title: Atrazine concentrations in leachate from different soils at different time intervals after application-laboratory simulation.

Abstract: This experiment was conducted to examine atrazine leaching through soil of high clay content and a prepared organic soil over a sampling period of 15 days. It was hypothesized that atrazine concentration would be lower in the clay soil and that concentrations would decrease with time. A soil leaching column was used to create an artificial leaching simulation. Atrazine 10 x recommended field application rate (2.5 lb/ha) was applied to the soil surface by an even spray. Leachate was collected immediately after application, and again on day 5, 10, and 15 after application. Atrazine was extracted by sep-pack extraction and eluted with methanol. Extractions were analyzed by GC-FID (EPA Method 2) with an internal standard of metolachlor. Peak areas of atrazine and metolachior were integrated and compared by calculation for atrazine concentration.
As expected, atrazine concentrations in leachate from the clay soil were lower than those of the prepared organic soils. Statistical analysis revealed that concentrations were only significantly different between soils on the initial sampling date. Also as expected, atrazine concentration decreased with time in both soil types. Concentrations were approximately 20 ppm on the initial sampling date and fell to undetectable levels after 10 days. It was concluded that atrazine has a moderate mobility and persistence in soil.

Name: Carol S. Miller
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors E. Pallant and J. Palmer

Title: Effects of Atrazine and Metolachlor on the Growth of Corn Roots

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to quantitatively observe the effects that different levels of the herbicides atrazine and metolachlor had on the growth of corn roots. It was hypothesized that herbicides will cause the mean root length density and the mean root surface area to decrease. Both atrazine and metolachlor were applied to the roots in concentrations of 0x. 0.75x, 1 .5x, and 3.0x, where x stands for the recommended application rate. The experiment was conducted in the greenhouse and the plants were grown in specially designed pots to minimize any root-shoot interactions that may take place due to the herbicide application. The pots consisted of a main growing pot, to maintain a healthy, mature plant; a small conduit tube, to guide one nodal root into the treatment tube; and a treatment tube which isolated one nodal root from the rest of the plant roots to allow for the controlled application of herbicides. The roots were removed from the root tubes and measured on an IBM computer using the software Aglmage. The parameters of root length and surface area were measured. Root length density was calculated for use in the data analyses. Significant results were obtained for both atrazine and metolachlor. In the atrazine treatments both the mean root length densities and the mean root surface areas were smaller than the control. These results supported the hypothesis which was based on previous research using herbicides and other plants; such as wheat and soybeans. In the metolachlor treatments, the 1/5x and 3.0x concentrations showed significantly larger mean root length densities and mean root surface areas than the 0x and 0.75x concentrations. This was a physiological response by the roots in an attempt to lower the concentration of the by products of metolachlor in the growing environment.

Name: Michael S. Mumau
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors E. Pallant and M. Keeley

Title: E.S. at A.C.: A Video Perspective of the Environmental Sciences at Allegheny College

Abstract: My Senior Comprehensive is a video about the current faculty and students of the Environmental Science Department. The purpose of my project was to show the high level of interaction that exists between the faculty and students in the department, while at the same time portraying the relationships that develop between students and E.S. faculty members. This senior project is evidence that the issues of Environmental Science are expanding beyond that of the written or experimental comprehensives. The Environmental Sciences are beginning to encompass many different fields of study, and the video revolution is not far behind.

Name: Kelly O’Neill
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer and S. Wissinger

Title: Sublethal Effects of Atrazine on Predation Behavior of the Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

Abstract: Individual goldfish (Carassius auratus) were subjected to three treatment series of sublethal atrazine concentrations. Atrazine is a semi-persistent herbicide commonly used on corn crops and has the potential to provoke a variety of behavioral changes in aquatic invertebrates if it enters surface waters. It was hypothesized to weaken biological functions, and consequently reduce goldfish’s ability to capture prey. Results of my experiment supported the first hypothesis that low exposures of atrazine would cause decreased consumption of Daphnia magna prey by goldfish. Significantly decreased prey consumption was detected at atrazine concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm to 0.2 ppm. The second hypothesis stated that low atrazine exposures would increase goldfish attack latency. Results failed to support this hypothesis because of no significant dose-dependent increases in attack latency were detected. Feeding, as a selective behavior, expressed a dose-response relationship in population feeding. Fish behavioral malfunctions, such as altered predator foraging behavior may serve as an early indicator of aquatic pollution.

Name: Nicholas J. Oehm, Jr.
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Ostrofsky and R. Bowden

Title: An Examination of the Spatial Distribution of Reduced Sulfur Complexes in the Surficial Sediments of Canadohta Lake, Pennsylvania

Abstract: The process of sulfate reduction may play an important role in determining the water quality of freshwater and lake ecosystems. Previous studies have linked sulfate reduction to increases in internal phosphorus loading rates, buffering capacity and the ability to bind heavy metals as insoluble sulfides. One might expect a large degree of spatial variability with regard to sulfate reduction, as sediment quality varies tremendously. Twenty eight surficial sediment cores were taken across three transects at Canadohta Lake, Pennsylvania and analyzed for correlations between depth, LOI, total Fe, AVS-S and Cr-S. Results reveal little correlation between reduced sulfur species and depth, LOI and total Fe with large variation between sample locations. The results suggest that sulfate reduction may be limited by sulfate inputs rather than available organic material and that due to temporal variation, future models should consider mean annual concentrations of reduced sulfur rather than a single sampling time.

Name: Kerry A. Philp
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Music and Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors W. Jamison, T. Bensel and R. Bond

Title: The Making of Deforestation: The Effectiveness of Music as an Interdisciplinary Approach to Environmental Education

Abstract: The following experiment is an attempt to prove if music is an effective interdisciplinary approach to environmental education. Deforestation, a self-composed piece, contains three movements: “A View of the Rainforest”, “A Parade of Construction”, and “Deforestation”. Each movement contains musical elements whose intention is to convey the subject and the emotions of that subject to the listener. Twenty-six random students from different classes and areas of study participated in listening to the composition and answering questions about what they experienced. The majority of the students experienced the same emotions as the composer and understood the themes of each section, with the exception of the second movement. Overall, the musical elements used were effective in educating students about deforestation, regardless of their own personal opinion. The message conveyed in the piece created an environmental awareness for the listener, showing that music can be used in educating students about the environment.

Name: Blair A. Prusha
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Palmer and E. Pallant

Title: The Relative Effects of Timothy and Orchardgrass Mixes in Alfalfa on Potato Leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) Population Levels.

Abstract: The relative effects of Timothy and Orchardgrass grass mixtures in alfalfa on PLH populations was studied. The purpose was to broaden our understanding of the potential uses of these grasses in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Ten established alfalfa fields in the Geauga County, Ohio area were sampled for potato leafhopper (PLH) on five dates over the summer of 1994. Four fields consisted of Alfalfa/Timothy, four of Alfalfa/Orchardgrass and two of Alfalfa Monocultures. Overall, no significant difference was found between the PLH population densities in the Alfalfa/Timothy fields as opposed to the Alfalfa/Orchardgrass fields, even though there was a slight trend towards fewer PLH in the Alfalfa/Timothy fields. There was, however, a significant effect of Sampling Date and Cutting Date on PLH population levels. The pattern of PLH populations over the five Sampling Dates was significantly different for fields cut at different Cutting Dates. All fields seemed to follow the same pattern of increasing PLH populations as time progressed. As soon as a field was cut, however, PLH populations decreased drastically and tended to remain relatively low. Thus, planned cuttings, rather than grass mixtures, might be a viable choice for use in an IPM program in Geauga and neighboring Counties.

Name: Sean J. Roberts
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors T. Bensel and E. Pallant

Title: Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pump: Allegheny College Athletic and Recreation Facility Economic Feasibility Study

Abstract: The Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pump is an alternative heating/cooling system. Although the GSHP is fairly new technology, it has been proven effective and reliable over varying climates. The Board of Trustees at Allegheny College have recently approved preliminary plans to be done to construct a new athletic and recreation facility. This study examines the economic feasibility of installing a Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pump as the main heating and cooling unit. Heating and cooling load calculations were performed for four zones (areas) to determine the system size that needed to be installed. Once the systems were properly sized, cost comparisons were made between the GSHP system, a natural gas boiler system, and a combination system. It was found that all three of the heating systems have very close initial cost. The major difference in cost appears in the annual operating cost. Two electric rates were used in the analysis of each of the systems, along with a single gas rate (Boito, March 23, 1995, Betts, March 28, 1995, Personal Communications). Because the GSHP is run by electricity, the operating cost depends largely on the electric rate. Based on the GS Rate the GSHP has a lower operating cost. However, based on the other rate, the Allegheny Rate, the natural gas boiler system proves to be less expensive. Finally, future uses for the GSHP are introduced for Allegheny to explore and evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of the GSHP.

Name: David A. Roebuck
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science/Political Science
Thesis Committee: Professors T. Goliber and J. Palmer

Title: Effects of Increased UV-B Radiation on Duckweed, Lemna minor

Abstract: This experiment was performed because of the increasing concern about the depletion of the ozone layer which protects the living things on the earth from dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation exists in solar rays and can damage living cells when it is of an excess amount. Its effect on plants is rather well known and documented. Continuous depletion of the ozone layer will allow more of this harmful radiation to reach the earth’s surface. This will not only pose a problem to humans directly, but indirectly as well. Agricultural crops as well as other useful plants will experience decreased growth and reproduction rates.

Duckweed was chosen as the specimen plant because it is rather small and has a quick growth and reproduction rate, thus easily studied. It is also common to many areas of the world and represents a link between the world climates and ecological systems. Duckweed samples of various nutrient and volume levels were exposed to UV-B radiation over a 7 day period. The growth and reproduction rates were calculated over this time and compared to those of samples which weren’t exposed to the radiation.

Among the control samples the high nutrient samples had a greater growth than the low nutrient samples. Within the high nutrient samples the growth rate of the 200 mL samples exceeded that of the 25 mL samples. The growth rates of the low nutrient samples displayed similar results. Both the high and low nutrient samples grew increasingly over the 7 day testing period and at no point did the growth rate of the low nutrient samples exceed that of the high nutrient samples. Experimental results were consistent with the control results, but to a lesser degree. The growth rate of the high nutrient samples was greater than that of the low nutrient samples, with the 200 mL samples exceeding the growth rate of the 25 mL samples within both groups. The only exception occurred at the 7 day interval in which the high nutrient 25 rnL samples surpassed the high nutrient 200 mL samples in growth. The sample growth rates increased up until the 4 day interval, but decreased from the 4 to 7 day period. Absorbance measurements were consistent within the control group and the nutrient and volume levels were insignificant. However, within the experimental group the nutrient level was more important than the volume level.

Name: Scott S. Rogers
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors E. Pallant and T. Goliber

Title: Improving Cabbage Yields in New York State: Does Tillage and the Infection of Trichodenna harzianum (1295-22) have an effect upon Oleracea brassica Root and Shoot Growth?

Abstract: The improvement of cabbage yields in New York State was studied using a Subsurface Tillage-Transplanter and a beneficial strain of fungus known as Trichodenna harzianum (1295-22). Field experiments compared conventional till against no-till practices in combination with the infection of Trichoderina harzianum (1295-22). Transplants of cabbage (Oleracea brassica var. Hinova) were sampled for: root length density with tillage, infection, depth, and time; and shoot fresh weight with tillage, infection and time. No-till root length densities and fresh weights were significantly greater. Infection of Trichodenna harzianum (1295-22) did not prove to be a significant factor for root length density or shoot fresh weight. Based on these data, no-till production of cabbage is a viable practice for New York State cabbage growers, but the use of the fungus, Trichodenna harzianum (1295-22) is not.

Name: Marla Christine Sanchez
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies and Political Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Maniates and M. Stevens

Title: The Climate Change Action Plan: Forecasting More Hot Air

Abstract: The Climate Change Action Plan is the Clinton Administration’s response to the Framework Convention on Climate Change which President Bush signed at the Earth Summit in 1992. The plan consists of voluntary initiatives that focus on reduction greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy-efficiency. This study analyzes whether the CCAP will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. First, the study determines if the CCAP can be implemented in the U.S. successfully. Second, a study of the Green Lights program is conducted to determine how successful past voluntary programs have been at curbing pollution. Lastly, recommendations are made for improving the plan and what can be expected in the future.

Name: Frank B. Senediak
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors R. Bowden and E. Pallant

Title: Sewage Sludge and Agricultural Soil: An Analysis of Phosphorus Leaching

Abstract: Disposal of treated sewage sludge on agricultural soils can potentially lead to eutrophication problems of nearby lakes and streams. This experiment is aimed at analyzing the effect of soil depth, time, vegetation, and amount of sewage sludge on the concentrations of phosphorus in the leachate.

Agricultural soil from a nearby dairy farm in Meadville, PA was amended with sewage sludge at five different levels. These soil/sludge treatments were planted with Timothy alone, Winter Rye alone, and a treatment of no vegetation. A fourth treatment involved amending different soil depths with sewage sludge. The treatments were grown in pots placed in a greenhouse in a complete random block design, and tended for 5 weeks.

Phosphorus concentrations in the leachate of these treatments was analyzed to determine the effects of depth of soil, species of vegetation/no vegetation, time, and amount of sewage sludge.

Treatments that were not planted with vegetation leached higher concentrations of phosphorus (1.75 1 mgL) than the treatments planted with vegetation (.754 mg/L). There was no difference in phosphorus concentrations in the leachate between Winter Rye and Timothy. Phosphorus leaching increased as the amount of sludge was increased. The treatment that leached the highest concentrations of sludge was the treatment with no vegetation and 100% sludge. As time after amendment passed, the concentrations of phosphorus in the leachate increased. The concentrations of phosphorus in the leachate decreased from .572 mg/L at a soil depth of 105 cm to 1.639 mg/L at a solid depth of 45 cm. The variables evaluated in this experiment significantly effected the concentrations of phosphorus in the leachate of these treatments.

Name: Kristy L. Sholly
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Lord and S. Wissinger

Title: Sensitivity of Forested Wetlands To Potential Climate Change

Abstract: Climatic sensitivity studies done on two forested wetlands in northwestern Pennsylvania revealed that a predicted rise in global temperature due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases will have a detrimental effect on wetland hydrology. Seasonal fluctuations in hydrology were used to model the potential effects of a predicted rise in global temperature on forested wetlands. The two forested wetlands studies are located in a similar hydrogeologic setting within Allegheny College’s Bousson Environmental Reserve. The hydrologic budget for each wetland was assessed examining precipitation, groundwater, soil tension, and surface water fluctuations throughout the study period from April until July. Results indicate that decreases in water storage and greater variability is caused by increasing evapotranspiration as temperature rises. Clay rich soils showed greater sensitivity than sandy soils, which may be attributed to soil texture.

Name: Christopher A. Spyra
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors R. Bowden and M. Ostrofsky

Title: Small Scale Tree Distribution and Soil Variability on a Gradient Slope at Bousson Experimental Forest

Abstract: The distribution of tree species and soil variability was evaluated at the Bousson Experimental Forest. Twelve 20 x 20 meter plots were established on a 2.3% gradient slope. Tree species were numbered and identified. The total biomass of the trees in the study site was determined by logarithmic and exponential equations using dbh measurements. Soil samples were taken from the twelve experimental plots for 6 depths and analyzed for total carbon and nitrogen. The distribution of trees showed sugar maple, black cherry, and red maple on the upper portion of the slope and hemlock and American beech primarily located on the lower portion of the gradient slope. The majority of the biomass was located in the upper elevation and was found to be generally decreasing down slope. Carbon and nitrogen levels were used to establish a carbon-nitrogen ratio. The carbon-nitrogen ratio was found to be increasing as elevation decreased. After reviewing the data, in this particular case, it was determined that small scale change in elevation affected tree distribution and available soil nutrients.

Name: Gwen Stevens
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors R. Bowden and M. Ostrofsky

Title: Influence of Nitrogen Cycling and Nitrogen Deposition on Trace Gas Flux: A Comparison of Two Temperate Forests

Abstract: This study compared trace gas fluxes and the rate of nitrogen cycling at two temperate forests: the Harvard Forest (MA) and the generally more productive Bousson Environmental Research Reserve (PA). This investigation also examined effects of nitrogen fertilization on trace gas fluxes at Bousson over a six month period.

Fluxes were measured monthly using in-situ chamber incubations, and trace gas concentrations were determined by gas chromatography. Annual fluxes of CO2-C and N20-N, and consumption of CH4-C were all greater at Bousson than at the Harvard Forest (619 and 482 g C/m2/yr; 31.0 and 2.3 mg/N/m2/yr; 0.983 and 0.786 g C/m2/yr, respectively). Rates of net mineralization were higher at the Harvard Forest (7.15 g N/m2) than at Bousson (3.75 g N/m,). Nitrification rates at Bousson however, were over four times greater than nitrification at the Harvard Forest (4.82 and 0.94 g N/m2, respectively).

Fertilized plots at Bousson received 100 kg N/ha/yr of NH4NO3 fertilizer, applied monthly from May through October, 1994. After six months of N fertilization at Bousson, CO2 fluxes were slightly greater in control than in fertilized plots (totaling 395 and 323 g C/m2, respectively); N20 flux in fertilized plots was almost twice as great as in control plots (26.9 and 14.0 mg N/m2, respectively); and CH4 uptake was significantly lower in the fertilized plots than in the control (0.525 and 0.660 g C/m2, respectively), showing a dramatic 20% decrease in consumption after the first month of fertilization.

Results from this study support the contention that Bousson is more productive than the Harvard Forest site, evidenced by greater CO2 and N2O fluxes and faster N cycling at Bousson. This investigation has also revealed differences in trace gas activity between the Bousson control and fertilized plots, however the responses were not as clear and direct as hypothesized. Fertilization results indicate that at this site characterized by rapid N cycling, it may be difficult to increase the rate of cycling and affect trace gas activity by a significant amount in such a short-term investigation.

Name: Eric Christopher Strobel
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science
Thesis Committee: Professors R. Bowden and M. Ostrofsky

Title: A Risk Evaluation of Root Electromagnetic Radiation: A Comprehensive Analysis of Current Literature

Abstract: The field of electromagnetic research has developed over the last 15 years in response to the concern that society may be exposed to dangerous levels of EMF’s. Past research has shown a possible link between EMF exposure and certain types of cancer. Residential epidemiological research has uncovered an association between childhood leukemia and EMF exposure. Occupational epidemiological research has associated EMF exposure with a variety of adult cancers, including brain cancer. Although research to date has uncovered an association, that association is weak and often non-significant. Data from different experiments is often contradictory. The methodology employed by epidemiologists to assess EMF exposure suffers from several biases. Several possibilities exist that could reduce the potential bias in both residential and occupational epidemiological studies. Biological evidence, both in vivo and in vitro, has high-lighted several possible mechanisms through which EMF’s may induce cancer. However, more laboratory research in the biological field is crucial before concrete conclusions may be drawn.

Name: Harden J. VanRy
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Science/Political Science
Thesis Committee: Professors M. Maniates, M. Stevens and E. Pallant

Title: Waste Facility Siting in Rural America: Is Fairness a Rareness?

Abstract: Rural communities continue to be consistent targets for waste facility construction, but people are often at odds with one another regarding exactly where and how such wastes should be disposed. A well-designed siting system should allow all parties access to decision-making and information in order to improve the fairness of America’s disposal proposals.
This senior comprehensive project examines one disposal scenario through the analysis of a municipal incinerator ash facility proposal in the rural town of York, New York. Ten criteria, suggested by several noted waste-disposal analysts, are outlined as some of the most effective ways to improve the facility-siting process. These suggestions are then applied to the case study participants to determine whether each group might have behaved differently and improved the siting scenario for everyone.

After analyzing the York, NY as proposal controversy in elation to the ten criteria for effective waste disposal, I conclude that greater legal, regulatory, and educational strides must be made to improve the siting process and increase the social acceptance of waste facilities. Specific enhancements must be made in regard to front-end waste reduction, municipal responsibility, cost defrayrnent, zoning enforcement, and public preparation. In essence, increased awareness means increased fairness.

Name: Nicole Ann VanWert
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors S. Wissinger and T. Bensel

Title: Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment: A Feasibility Study for the City of Meadville, Pennsylvania

Abstract: Municipalities are beginning to recognize the potential of natural or constructed wetlands for treating wastewater. In this study, I first review the processes by which wetlands can act as a sink for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) that cause eutrophication of surface waters. Several case studies of various wetland types are also reviewed in order to compare their levels of efficiency for treating wastewater. In particular, vegetation type and seasonality are examined as factors that can affect nutrient retention in wetland ecosystems. One problem that I encountered in attempting to compare case studies is that effluent and/or nitrogen and phosphorous loading rates are presented in different units that are not easily standardized. I attempted to translate these results into common units so as to better compare studies. Finally, based on this background information and interviews with municipal and DER officials, I made several recommendations about the feasibility of using a wetland ecosystem for the treatment of Meadville’s secondary effluent. I concluded that a constructed or natural wetland system would efficiently serve as a nitrogen sink, but might not retain a significant amount of phosphorus. I also suggest that such a wetland system might act as a sink for part of the year, but release nutrients near the end of the growing season. A pilot project is one of several recommendations made for future study.

Name: Sarah Alisa Wells
Date: Spring 1995
Major: Environmental Studies
Thesis Committee: Professors J. Hyatt, E. Pallant and N. Lowmaster

Title: People, Bees, Mountains, and Trees: An arts and sciences curriculum for children to aid in the discovery and understanding of nature and the development of a personal Earth ethic

Abstract: The purpose of this senior comprehensive project is to develop an Earth Education curriculum that is interesting and engaging for children that are 11 and 12 years of age. This curriculum is to be a component of a 3 1/2 week summer program called Creating Landscapes. This program includes experiences in art, writing, rhythm &dance, vocal sound, creative dramatics, math/science, and Earth studies/geography. Essentially, the vehicles for learning will be physical exploration, critical thinking, and creative processing. The main goals of this curriculum are to eradicate the ignorance of how this Earth functions and supports life, provide opportunities to experience nature in new and exciting ways in order to evoke or strengthen a relationship with nature, and to encourage questioning of the pre-existing and accepted behaviors and attitudes that may begin to seem incongruous with the child’s developing understanding of the Earth’s systems and their role in nature. These goals being reached, I believe the final out come will be the beginning of the development of a personal Earth ethic that will give the individual moral independence through their ability to make informed choices concerning their behaviors and their impact on the Earth.

A child of this age needs to be engaged in ways that are enjoyable and stimulating in order for effective meaning-making to occur. This could be through looking or observing, actively exploring physical space, making things, talking, storytelling, listening, drawing pictures, dramatic play, or a combination of these. Therefore, an active and creative curriculum that allows for the child’s input for directing the activities seems most appropriate. This idea and the main goals are the forces that shaped the design of the actual activities that make up the curriculum.