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Junior Colloquium: Team SWAMP. Mentor : Dr. Dave Tilley Librarian : Mr. Robert Kackley

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junior colloquium team swamp

Junior Colloquium: Team SWAMP

Mentor: Dr. Dave Tilley

Librarian: Mr. Robert Kackley

Members: ArshAgarwal, Allie Bradford, Kerry Cheng, RamitaDewan, Enrique Disla, Addison Goodley, Nathan Lim, Lisa Liu, Lucas Place, RaevaRamadorai, Jaishri Shankar, Michael Wellen, Diane Ye, Edward Yu

research problem
Research Problem
  • Agricultural runoff, especially in the spring, leads to high nitrate levels in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  • Causes harmful algal blooms
    • Result: Dead zones characterized by depletion of oxygen and nutrients vital to aquatic wildlife
      • Dead zone: low oxygen area of water
research problem significance of project
Research Problem – Significance of Project

Affects fishing industry, seafood consumers, environmental groups, residents of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Health of the Chesapeake Bay is vital for maintaining biodiversity

purpose thesis hypothesis
Purpose & Thesis & Hypothesis

Purpose: To design a wetland that optimally removes nitrates from the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding waters

Thesis: We want to investigate what combination of native plant species and organic amendments best remove nitrates from the Chesapeake Bay

Hypothesis: We expect significant differences between the varying microcosms and empty controls

literature review agricultural runoff and river selection
Literature Review – Agricultural Runoff and River Selection
  • One of the largest sources of pollution into the Chesapeake Bay (Glibert et al., 2001)
  • Eutrophication causes harmful algal blooms
  • Constructed wetlands
    • Can remove up to 80% of inflowing nitrates (Crumpton & Baker, 1993)
  • Big Picture: Chesapeake Bay
    • Choptank River-largest eastern tributary in the bay (Staver, L., Staver, K., & Stevenson, J., 1996)
    • Tuckahoe Creek-34% of Choptank, accessibility (USDA Agricultural Research Service [ARS], 2009)
literature review plant selection
Literature Review – Plant Selection
  • Criteria for plant selection
    • Non-invasive
    • Native to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
    • Biofuel-capable
  • Cattail (Typhalatifolia) (Fraser, Carty, & Steer, 2004; Matheson, 2010)
  • Soft-stem Bulrush (Schoenoplectusvalidus) (Rogers, Breen, & Chick, 1991)
  • Switchgrass (Panicumvirgatum) (Larson, n.d.)
literature review biofuels organic amendments
Literature Review – Biofuels & Organic Amendments
  • Why biofuels?
    • To accommodate changing energy and environmental needs
    • Secondary data analysis
  • Cross-referenced list of Chesapeake Bay native, non-invasive plants with list of biofuel-capable plants (Fedler, Hammond, Chennupati & Ranjan, 2007; Wright & Turhollow, 2010; Zhang, Shahbazi, Wang, Diallo, & Whitmore, 2010)
  • Why organic amendments?
    • Increase differences in nitrate removal
  • Three carbon-based amendments
    • Glucose (Weisner, Eriksson, Graneli, & Leonardson, 1994)
    • Sawdust (Hien, 2010)
    • Wheat straw (Ines, Soares, & Abeliovich, 1998)
project outline
Project Outline
  • Phase 1
    • Goal: Find the most effective organic amendment
    • Use only cattail
  • Phase 2
    • Goal: Find the most effective combination of plants with the amendment
    • Use cattail, soft-stem bulrush, and switchgrass
  • Phase 3
    • Goal: Implement a large-scale design of the most effective plant combination
    • Time and money permitting
pilot microcosm design
Pilot Microcosm Design
  • 1:1 mixture of topsoil and sand
  • Plastic tubes inserted into ½ holes
  • Tubes pinched with clothespins
  • Cattails planted six inches apart from one another
  • Problems encountered
new microcosm design
New Microcosm Design
  • Spigot system installed as shown
  • Two inches of gravel, covered by polyethylene fabric.
  • 5 inches 1:1 topsoil/sand mixture
  • Plants: clumps of four
  • Water depth: 5 inches
  • Weighed microcosms
  • ½ Liter of topsoil from Tuckahoe for inoculation
an improved procedure
An Improved Procedure
  • 8 week adjustment period
  • After adjustment period, add nitrates and organic amendments via a concentrated solution
  • Water samples from individual tubs
plant groups
Plant Groups
  • We are using 8 groups:
  • No plants, no amendments
  • No plants with Glucose
  • No plants with Sawdust
  • No plants with Straw
  • Plants, no amendments
  • Plants with Glucose
  • Plants with Sawdust
  • Plants with Straw
preliminary results
Preliminary Results
  • Average Nitrate (NO3-) concentration of Tuckahoe River Samples:
    • Spring: 2.67 mg/L
    • Fall: 2.65 mg/L
  • No significant difference between the concentrations across seasons, p > .05
data analysis
Data Analysis
  • SAS 9.2
  • Trial Run: One Factor Repeated Measure ANOVA
  • No significant difference across weeks
  • Nitrate removal significantly different from 0 (no change in nitrate concentration)
  • Phase 1: Two Factor ANOVA with One Repeat Measure
  • Compare different microcosm environments and week of trial
future directions
Future Directions
  • Fall 2011
    • Carry out Phase 1 testing
      • Four 1 week trials
    • Collect sample data and analyze
    • Use results of Phase 1 in Phase 2 next semester
  • Spring 2012
    • Plant fresh microcosms and allow them to acclimate to greenhouse
    • Carry out Phase 2 testing
      • Six 1 week trials
    • Collect sample data and analyze
    • Tie up loose ends
    • Begin compiling thesis
future directions cont
Future Directions (cont)
  • Summer/Fall 2012
    • Finish data collection and analysis, if necessary
    • Begin to implement Phase 3 of project, if time and funds allow for it
    • Finish first draft of thesis
    • Contact discussants for thesis conference
  • Spring 2013
    • Edit thesis
    • Thesis conference!
    • Make final changes to thesis after conference
    • Citation ceremony and commencement!
team composition
Team Composition
  • Research
    • Everyone does everything
  • Writing/Literature
    • Subgroups
    • Group deadline: at least 2 weeks before hard deadline
      • Example: Junior Colloquium presentation was due internally 3 weeks before we had to present it!
foreseeing problems
Foreseeing Problems
  • LOTS of unforeseen complications!
  • How did we account for these issues?
    • Build our schedules to work around the project
    • Talk about it!
    • Revisit the project timeline and make changes CONSTANTLY
  • Completed tasks:
    • Thesis Proposal
    • Pilot microcosm testing
    • New microcosm design
    • Phase 1 acclimation
  • To be completed:
    • Phase 1 testing
    • Phase 2 acclimation and testing
    • Thesis
    • Conferences
for the freshmen
For the Freshmen!
  • Put the work in early
  • Find a good mentor!
  • Form subgroups as needed
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your team!
  • Use your librarian!
  • Focus on the big picture…
  • Dr. Dave Tilley
  • Dr. James Wallace and the Gemstone Staff
  • Ms. Betty Morgavan and the Greenhouse Staff
  • Mr. Robert Kackley
  • Dr. Bruce James
  • Mr. Brandon Winfrey
  • Home Depot in College Park, MD
  • Anderson, D., & Glibert, P., & Burkholder J. (2002). Harmful algal blooms and eutrophication: Nutrient sources, composition, and consequences. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, 24(4), 704-726. 
  • Crumpton, W., & Baker, J. (1993). Integrating wetlands into agricultural drainage systems: Predictions of nitrate loading and loss in wetlands receiving agricultural subsurface drainage. In: Mitchell J (Ed). Constructed wetlands for water quality improvement. St. Joseph, MI: American Society of Agricultural Engineers. 118-26.
  • Fedler, C., Hammond, R., Chennupati, P., & Ranjan, R. (2007). Biomass energy potential from recycled wastewater. Lubbock: Texas Tech University.
  • Fraser, L. H., Carty, S. M., & Steer, D. (2004). A test of four plant species to reduce total nitrogen and total phosphorus from soil leachate in subsurface wetland microcosms. Bioresource Technology, 94(2), 185-192. 
  • Glibert, P., Magnien, R., Lomas, M., Alexander, J., Tan, C., Haramoto, E., et al. (2001). Harmful algal blooms in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays of Maryland, USA: Comparison of 1997, 1998, and 1999 events. Estuaries and Coasts, 24(6), 875-883. doi: 10.2307/1353178
  • Hien, T. (2010). Influence of different substrates in wetland soils on denitrification. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, June 2010, 1-12. doi:10.1007/s11270-010-0498-6
  • Ines, M., Soares, M., & Abeliovich, A. (1998). Wheat straw as substrate for water denitrification. Water Research. 32(12), 3790-3794.
  • Karrh, R., Romano, W., Raves-Golden, R., Tango, P., Garrison, S., Michael, B., Karrh, L. (2007). Maryland tributary strategy Choptank River basin summary report for 1985-2005 Data. Annapolis, MD: Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
  • Larson, R.A. (n.d.) Nitrate uptake by terrestrial and aquatic plants. Unpublished manuscript, Office of Research Development and Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carbondale, Illinois.
  • Matheson, F. E., & Sukias, J. P. (2010). Nitrate removal processes in a constructed wetland treating drainage from dairy pasture. Ecological Engineering, 36, 1260-1265.
  • Rogers, K., Breen, P., & Chick, A. (1991). Nitrogen removal in experimental wetland treatment systems: Evidence for the role of aquatic plants. Research Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation, 63(7), 9.
  • Staver, L. W., Staver, K. W., & Stevenson, J. C. (1996). Nutrient inputs to the Choptank river estuary: Implications for watershed management. Estuaries, 19(2), 342-358.
  • United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (2009, June 16). Choptank River, Maryland: An ARS Benchmark Research Watershed. Retrieved from http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=18632.
  • Weisner, S., Eriksson, P., Granéli, W., & Leonardson, L. (1994). Influence of macrophytes on nitrate removal in wetlands. Ambio, 23(6), 363-366.
  • Wright, L., & Turhollow, A. (2010). Switchgrass selection as a “model” bioenergy crop: A history of the process. Biomass and Bioenergy, 34(6), 851-868. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2010.01.030
  • Zedler, J. B. (2003). Wetlands at your service: reducing impacts of agriculture at the watershed scale. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1(2), 65-72.
  • Zhang, B., Shahbazi, A., Wang, L., Diallo, O., & Whitmore, A. (2010). Hot-water pretreatment of cattails for extraction of cellulose. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, 1-6. doi: 10.1007/s10295-010-0847-x
  • Completed tasks:
    • Thesis Proposal
    • Pilot microcosm testing
    • New microcosm design
    • Phase 1 acclimation
  • To be completed:
    • Phase 1 testing
    • Phase 2 acclimation and testing
    • Thesis
    • Conferences
  • Will discover optimum combination of plants to reduce nitrate levels running off into Chesapeake
  • Questions?