Project Proposals for 2006-2007 DWRC Undergraduate Internships

EIGHT as of 3/17/2006

1. Measuring groundwater discharge to the Inland Bays (posted 2/15/06)

2. Sustainable Mosquito Control for Stormwater Ponds (posted 2/6/06)

3. Lewes Citizen Monitoring Program, Broadkill Watershed Tributary Team, and Delaware NEMO Program (posted 3/10/06)

4. Water Uptake and Sulfur Metabolism in PlantsDelaware State University (posted 3/15/06)

5. Influence of land use and management on runoff and water quality patterns in the Cool Run tributary watershed, Newark, Delaware. (posted 3/15/06)

6. Baseline assessment of water quality and identification of sources of pollution for the Noxontown Pond, Middletown, Delaware. (posted 3/15/06)

7. Influences of riparian and wetland areas on runoff and stream chemistry patterns across catchment scales (posted 3/15/06)

8. Baseline assessment of water quality in relation to salt marsh breeding birds at Woodland Beech, Delaware (posted 3/17/06)

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1. Measuring groundwater discharge to the Inland Bays (posted 2/15/06)

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Bill Ullman ullman@udel.edu, (302) 645-4302 FAX:  (302) 645-4007,

Or Doug Miller dmiller@udel.edu for more information.

University of Delaware (UD) College of Marine Studies, Lewes, DE.  Web: www.ocean.udel.edu

Project description:

This DWRC undergraduate student intern will work with Dr. Ullman and Dr. Miller to determine rates of submarine groundwater discharge to shallow sub-tidal areas of the Inland Bays using thermal and salinity data.  The student should have some background in hydrology, oceanography, or environmental sciences and good mathematical and computer   skills.  We will use simple samplers to look at temperature and salinity gradients at Oak Orchard on the north side of Indian River Bay and one-dimensional transport models to evaluate the vertical fluxes needed to sustain these gradients. 

 

The student will also have the opportunity to collect other types of samples to relate these groundwater discharge measurements to biological and chemical processes occurring at the sites of discharge. 

Housing:  The student would be eligible for dormitory housing at Cape Henlopen for the period of the internship.   

 

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2. Sustainable Mosquito Control for Stormwater Ponds

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Jack B. Gingrich gingrich@udel.edu, (302) 831-1308,

University of Delaware (UD) Dept. of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.

 Introduction

Stormwater ponds (BMP’s) have been shown to be an important breeding habitat for mosquitoes, including both nuisance species and West Nile (WN) virus vectors (Gingrich et al., 2006).   Moreover, over the past two years, important new information has been developed by Gingrich et al. (unpublished Annual Report to DELDOT, 2005) that distinguishes among types of ponds that produce mosquitoes in large numbers and those that do not.  Detention ponds, especially extended detention ponds, often do not drain within the 72-hour period that they were designed for.   Instead they often take 10-14 days or longer to dry out, which is more than ample time for a brood of mosquitoes to emerge.  When they do dry out, wet mud around the periphery of these ponds become the targets for oviposition by floodwater mosquitoes of the Aedes group of mosquitoes, which include several potential WN vector species.  Also, certain categories of retention ponds, especially shaded ponds with shallow perimeters, become breeding sites for numerous mosquito species, including Culex and Aedes group members.   These ponds develop heavy and dense vegetation that in turn provide good protection and food sources for larval mosquitoes. 

Although it appears that detention ponds may be limited in the future, shallow retention ponds appear to be here to stay, for a number of reasons.  For those ponds that are likely to breed high numbers of mosquitoes on a yearly basis, the choice is to continually apply pesticides, or find an alternative solution to reduce mosquito abundance.  It would be preferable to find a low-impact, sustainable method to reduce mosquito abundance that takes account of what we know about mosquito biology and behavior. 

In 2005, we found that our aluminum phosphate treatment, designed to limit availability of phosphates, may be differentially curtailing development by several of our most important West Nile vector and nuisance mosquito species that are highly dependent on phosphates.  These species include Culex pipiens group, Cx. salinarius, Cx. restuans, and Aedes vexans.  However, the data need to be collected in a way that provides more replicates and more specifically addresses and tests this hypothesis.  We also need to reduce variability of our phosphate measurements by assuring that all test samples are stored exactly the same way, and that reagents used in the test are pre-measured.  It has also recently become clear (Peck and Walton, 2006) that certain bacteria may also be important as mosquito food, as well as phytoplankton and zooplankton.  While we have good measurements for phytoplankton using chlorophyll A, evaluating bacterial concentrations would represent a new measure for us. 

Proposed Tests for 2006

As a result, the following approaches are proposed for 2006:

1)     Reduce the amount of orthophosphate using aluminum sulfate (alum) to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria;

2)     Measure bacteria levels, phosphate levels, and chlorophyll A levels to determine how and what alum addition is impacting.  We would use at least 10 ponds in each of two groups, controls and alum treatments.

3) Measure abundance of mosquitoes in at least 10 ponds treated with alum and 10 left as controls. 

4)  Measure impacts of alum treatments in the lab on mosquito development using treatment levels comparable to what is used in the field, as well as a 2X and 4X concentration.

5) Identify and count mosquito species in each field and lab study.  Determine proportions of vector and non-vector species in each pond. 

Specifically, the following measurements would be taken on a biweekly basis from June to September:

1)      Number and species of larvae per dip based on 20 dips per subsite, with 5 subsites per pond

2)      Numbers and types of invertebrate predators (based on numbers per 20 dips)

3)      Percent shade reduction by vegetation (lux read at water surface)

4)      Three dominant vegetation types at the subsites and the percent of surface occupied

5)      pH

6)      Conductivity

7)      Temperature

8)      Orthophosphate concentration

9)      Chlorophyll a concentration

10) Total bacteria per subsite based on slides stained for epifluorescence microscopy.

 

Expected Results 

Data would be entered into an automated Access database, with all the information from 9 biweekly site collections plus all field site characteristics included.  Success of the treatment method would be evaluated based on mosquito abundance reduction, ease of treatment, and overall cost to implement the treatment.  Lab results and field results are expected to back each other up and support the use of alum to reduce mosquito development, particularly of important nuisance and vector species, without adversely impacting the overall levels of non-vector species and predators.  Controls and treatment groups would be analyzed by stepwise multiple regression and paired t-tests. Results will be presented in both tables and graphs.  Also, descriptive statistics (mean larvae per dip) and standard errors will be used in depicting graphs to be compared.

References

Gingrich, J.B., R.D. Anderson, G. M. Williams, L.L. O’Connor, and K.H. Harkins. 2006.  Stormwater ponds, constructed wetlands, and other BMP’s as potential breeding sites for West Nile virus vectors in Delaware during 2004.  J. Amer. Mosq. Cont. Assoc. 22: In press.

 

Peck, G.W. and W.E. Walton.  2006. Effect of bacterial quality and density on growth and whole body stoichiometry on Culex quinquefasciatus and Cx. tarsalis (Diptera: Culicidae). J. Med. Entomol. 43(1): 25-33.

 

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3. Lewes Citizen Monitoring Program, Broadkill Watershed Tributary Team, and Delaware NEMO Program (posted 3/10/06)

 

We have opportunities for internships with our Citizen Monitoring Program, Broadkill Watershed Tributary Team, and Delaware NEMO Program for students having interest in outreach education and some applied research while living down at the beach. We could probably find them student housing in a UD dorm.

 

Please contact Joe Farrell jfarrell@udel.edu to discuss. (302) 645-4250

University of Delaware (UD) Sea Grant Program, Lewes

 

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4. Water Uptake and Sulfur Metabolism in PlantsDelaware State University (posted 3/15/06)

 

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Cyril Broderick cbroderi@desu.edu (302) 857-6416,

Delaware State University (DSU) Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

 

Water remains a critical resource for all life, and its bulk is in the external environment. Its availability and use in organisms is however critical to all living systems. Plants are a group of organisms that rely on the availability of water from watersheds, dams, and a variety of different sources, and most metabolically active plant organs maintain water contents of around 90 percent of their total weight. Water is hence intrinsically important to all plants. Sulfur is also of particular interest, because it is regarded as the fourth most abundant among required elements in plants. The question is: Would sulfur supply or deficiency affect plant growth and water uptake in plants, especially fast-growing horticultural species? Methods proposed would be based on hydroponic sand culture and microscopic analysis of changes in plant tissue structure, texture, growth and development. Data would include measures of changes in mass, osmosis, turgor, plasmolysis, as well as data on physical changes in membranes and tissues of the plant organs studied. Preliminary studies conducted with Abelmoschus/Hibiscus esculentus (okra) are encouraging. In addition to okra, several species of the Mustard family (Cruciferae) and Nightshade family (Solanaceae) shall be used in the study.

 

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The following two internships are proposed by a team of 3 UD advisors.  These (and #7) require some field monitoring and some GIS work and are part of bigger projects.

 

5. (#1 of 2) Influence of land use and management on runoff and water quality patterns in the Cool Run tributary watershed, Newark, Delaware.  (posted 3/15/06)

 

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Shreeram Inamdar inamdar@udel.edu  (302) 831- 8877

Or the co-advisors:

Dr. J. Thomas Sims jtsims@udel.edu (302) 831-2698

Jenny McDermott mott@udel.edu (302) 831-1389

University of Delaware (UD) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

 

The Cool Run creek a tributary of the White Clay creek drains two different portions of the University of Delaware Campus.  At its northern edge the creek receives runoff from the main campus which has urban landuse and large areas of impervious surfaces while at its southern end the creek predominantly drains the College of Agriculture’s dairy farms and forested areas.  The intent of this study is to investigate how these two contrasting landuses impact the runoff quantity and quality of the Cool Run creek.  Streamflow gages will be implemented at three separate locations in the watershed to monitor discharge.  These three locations will be the outlets of the three subwatersheds that represent the differing landuses. Water quality sampling will be performed using the Horiba hand-held water quality sensor and will include – dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, turbidity, and temperature.  In addition, grab sampling will also be performed during baseflow and storm event periods and water samples will be analyzed for all cations, anions and DOC.  A GIS mapping system will be developed for the Cool Run watershed and will include a compilation of GIS layers such as landuse, soils, topography, drainage, and surficial geology.  The GIS mapping system will enable us to explore the relationship between water quality and spatial attributes (e.g., percent imperviousness) of the subwatersheds. 

 

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6. (#2 of 2) Baseline assessment of water quality and identification of sources of pollution for the Noxontown Pond, Middletown, Delaware. (posted 3/15/06)

 

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Shreeram Inamdar inamdar@udel.edu  (302) 831- 8877

Or the co-advisors:

Dr. J. Thomas Sims jtsims@udel.edu (302) 831-2698

Jenny McDermott mott@udel.edu (302) 831-1389

University of Delaware (UD) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

 

The Noxontown Pond located on St. Andrews School campus, Middletown, DE has been extensively impacted by nonpoint source pollution from surrounding agricultural land and suburban sprawl/development.  The pond is a 160 acre waterbody that drains into the Appoquinimink River.  The intent of this project is to provide a baseline assessment of the water quality in the pond and to identify the critical source areas of runoff and nonpoint pollution to the pond.  Water quality in the pond will be monitored for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, turbidity, and temperature using the Horiba automated water quality sensor.  In addition, grab sampling for water will also be performed which will be analyzed for all cations, anions, and DOC.  Selected creeks or first order drainages discharging water into the pond will also be sampled and investigated.  A GIS model including topography, soils, landuse, landcover, riparian buffers, and surficial geology will be developed for the watershed. Critical source areas of pollution will be identified from field surveys and GIS model investigations.  This project will set the stage for a full-fledged investigation of the pond ecosystem and its drainage area.

 

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7. Influences of riparian and wetland areas on runoff and stream chemistry patterns across catchment scales  (posted 3/15/06)  This requires some field monitoring and some GIS work and is part of a bigger project.

 

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Shreeram Inamdar inamdar@udel.edu  (302) 831- 8877

University of Delaware (UD) Bioresources Engineering

 

How does runoff chemistry vary with increasing catchment size?  How do hydrologic flow paths shift with increase in catchment size? Does the change in areal extent and spatial distribution of wetland/riparian areas with catchment size influence stream chemistry? These are some of the important questions that are at the forefront of research in hydrologic sciences.  We will study these questions across three catchments of 1, 10, and 150 ha area in the Fair Hill preserve in Maryland. The relatively uniform landuse (pasture and forests) in the preserve will preclude any complications from urban and agricultural chemical signals.  The watersheds are drained by tributaries of the Big Elk creek.  Stream gages will be established at each site and discharges will be measured continuously during baseflow and storm events.  Stream water chemistry will be sampled by grab sampling and through automated ISCO samplers at each site.  Water samples will be analyzed for all cations, anions, and DOC.  In addition to stream chemistry, sampling will also be performed for other watershed compartments such as throughfall, groundwater, surface runoff, soil water, etc.  Special attention will be paid to the water in riparian and wetland areas.  Topography of the watersheds will be mapped using existing LIDAR data, and topographic and wetness indices characterizing the spatial and areal extent of riparian/wetland areas will be developed.  The wetness indices will be verified through field mapping. Stream chemistry patterns from the three watersheds will be evaluated against their wetness and topographic indices to discern the controls of topography and riparian and wetland areas on stream chemistry.  

 

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8. Baseline assessment of water quality in relation to salt marsh breeding birds at Woodland Beech, Delaware (posted 3/17/06).

 

Interested in this internship? 

Contact Dr. Greg Shriver gshriver@udel.edu (302) 831-1300

University of Delaware (UD) Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology

Contact Dr. Shreeram Inamdar inamdar@udel.edu  (302) 831- 8877

University of Delaware (UD) Bioresources Engineering

 

As part of a breeding ecology study of tidal marsh passerine birds, this project will provide the initial assessment of water chemistry within the breeding areas for two obligate marsh species.  The internship would provide avian sampling experience, including mist-netting, color banding, nest searching, and avian inventories as well as an opportunity to establish the baseline assessment of water chemistry in relation to avian breeding ecology.  Basic water chemistry data (DO, pH, salinity) will be collected at permanent sites throughout the tidal wetland during the breeding season (May-August).  We will also collect water level depth using peizometers (shallow ground water wells).  All sampling locations will be permanently marked using GPS and integrated into a multi-layer GIS for spatial analyses.