Ecology of Local Waterways

In Spring 2024, Erin Hotchkiss & Katherine X. Pérez Rivera led a class of undergraduates in a semester-long team research project assessing the role of the Duck Pond on Virginia Tech's campus in altering the downstream water quality of Stroubles Creek (BIOL 2984 Special Study: Ecology Research in Local Waterways). 

In anticipation of a large dredging project that will remove tons (literally!) of sediments deposited in the Duck Pond to increase its water holding and pollutant removal capacity, we measured water quality parameters linked with ecosystem health above and below the Duck Pond throughout spring 2024, building on an initial dataset collected by Katherine as part of her dissertation research. The campus dredging project started in April 2024 and is scheduled to continue through June 2024.  

Below we share results of our spring research collaboration in the form of:

In Fall 2024, we plan to lead another team of student collaborators enrolled in "Ecology Research in Local Waterways", who will also be mentored by several of our Spring 2024 undergraduate collaborators. Our research team in Fall 2024 will collect and analyze data to compare pre/post dredging water quality and ecosystem health in the two inlets to the Duck Pond (Webb Branch and Main Branch of Stroubles Creek) and the Duck Pond outflow (Stroubles Creek), with a goal of quantifying changes in pollutant removal capacity and ecosystem health before, during, and after dredging. Stay tuned for updates on what we find!

Spring 2024 Research Team Members: Kennedy Anderson (BIOL), Katherine Campo (FREC), Alejandra Flota (FREC), Erin Hotchkiss (BIOL), Jialin Huo (BIOL), James Logan (BIOL), Emma Lucier (BIOL), Peyton Penland (BIOL), & Katherine Pérez Rivera (BIOL).

Spring 2024 project abstract, key figures, and appendix files: Flota, A.L., J. Logan, K. Anderson, K.A. Campo, J. Huo, E.A. Lucier, P.D. Penland, K.X. Pérez Rivera, & E.R. Hotchkiss. 2024.  Analyzing the Retention Efficiency of the Duck Pond and Predicting Nutrient Removal Capacity Post-Dredging.

Above: poster co-presented by Emma Lucier and James Logan at the 2024 Dennis Dean Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship Conference [received a 3rd place award from the College of Natural Resources and Environment - congrats, team!]