April 20th, 2011
I attended the poster session for student research projects in the Great Hall the other day. There were many especially interesting Environmental studies that were being presented.
An interesting theme in the session centered around the use of Atrazine herbicides. Atrazine is used to help increase crop-yield. However, due to some questionable effects of this chemical it has been outlawed in Europe. It is still used in the U.S. and has contaminated drinking water. Atrazine is associated with potential health hazards such as birth defects and menstrual issues. One poster centered around the effect of atrazine on the thyroid of Zebra fish.
Another poster looked at the effect of sea level rise on the shoreline in Staffard county. The rising tides have caused significant erosion. Over 146 acres have been eroded since the first recording. There does not appear to be any end in sight due to an ever increasing sea level. The presenters felt that residents in the community needed to act to protect the land from future erosion before it was lost forever.
There was also an interesting poster on acid mine drainage. The drainage seeps into local water areas and forms sulfuric acid. The acid becomes more concentrated in the summer as the bodies of water shrink and turns the water to an unnatural orange color. I thought this concept of increased toxicity concentrations in summer was interesting. I am interested to learn more about how seasons effect the way pollution interacts with our environment.