During the first half of each spring semester students in a sophomore-level Biology class (BIO 250) gather water quality data, including flow rates, E. coli concentrations, and more. These data are used to track changes in water quality over time. In the second half of this class students split up into research groups to plan, implement, and analyze data focused on a particular research topic. Past groups have done projects that include antibiotic resistance in stream bacteria, heavy metals in near-stream soils, effect of invasive plants on soil chemistry, influence of a feral cat population on local bird abundance, nutrient runoff from golf courses, etc. A list of the projects done in 2019 can be found here. Individual research projects for 2020 were disrupted by Covid19 restrictions.

Plant Germination and Performance

Determining the Optimal Light and pH Conditions for Germinating Anthoxanthum ordoatum (Sweet Grass), Aralia racemosa (American Spikenard), and Clintonia borealis (Bluebead Lily)

Michael Akpabey, Ryan German, Nancy Massa, and Bethany Williams

Effects of Biochar on Growth of Native North American Plants

Micah Meindertsma, Sage Riley, and Drew Van Andel

Analyses of Urban Curb-Cut Rain Garden Soils in the Alger Heights Neighborhood of Grand Rapids Using Ion Chromatography and Bioassay

Madi Brink, Patience Buckley, Ethan Houskamp, Ana Singh

Effects of Agricultural Runoff on Radish Growth

Lauren Martin, Lucie Shippert, Anthony Sickman

Land Use and Water Quality

Determining the Effect of Water Quality on Stream Macroinvertebrates Above and Below Stormy Creek Golf Course

Dena Baker, Ricky Ebenezer, Heidi Keswick, and Chris Ralph

Water Chemistry and Potential Effects on the Relative Abundance of Amphibian Egg Masses in the Plaster Creek Watershed

Meghan Economou, Betty Kliewer, and Kelli Laube

Effects of Land use on Fish Populations in Plaster Creek

Lucas DeGroot, Isaac Favila, Liam Ferraby, Daniel Jensen

Effects of Urbanization on Water Quality Parameters at the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve

Alexander Exler, Kyle Musch, Simon Paul, and Dominic Timmer