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 2018 can be found here.

Group 1

A Spatial and Temporal Assessment of the Presence and Dynamics of Antibiotic Resistant E. coli in Plaster Creek

Logan Bruns, Megan Schilthuis, Elizabeth Voss

A Longitudinal Survey of E. coli and Phage in Plaster Creek from Paris Park to Stormy Creek Golf Course

Kate DeHeer, Olivia Harlow, Aiyana Mennega, Tobechukwu Ndika

Group 2

Evaluating Nutrient and E. coli Levels along Calvin College’s Whiskey Creek Waterway

Gabi Allread, Hyeryeong Choi, Gillian Gardner, Rachel Gensamer, Evan Klein, Jonathan Sims

Comparison of Soils from Curb-cut Rain Gardens in the Plaster Creek Watershed and their Effect on the Growth of Marsh blazing star (Liatris spicata) and Davis’ sedge (Carex davisii) Seedlings

James Eapen, Lauren Ebels, Connor Kuipers, Rachel Mulavalil, Alexandra VanDeWege, Jon Walt

Group 3

Effects of Acid, Abrasion, and Smoke on Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia), and Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) Seed Germination

Lance Blanche, Maria Bleitz, Lily Boers, Bradley Scholten

Influence of Mulch Depth on Germination Success of Common Weeds (Poa pratenis, Gypsophila paniculata)

Matthew Kintz, Olivia Lamberg, Heather Seignious, Connor Shea