Dr. Melinda Coogan

BVU Freshwater Research Group

Seniors
Beth Weber
Shaylia Barber
Jonathon Ehrlich
Cristina Buse

Junior
Bobby Ivy
Ethan Wilson

Sophomores
Derek Simonsen
Michelle Clinesmith
Cortney Weaver
Olivia Tuel
Garrett Reed

 

Research Projects of BVU Graduates

Welcome to the student Research page. Please scroll through to see the different research projects or use the links on the left to navigate.

Student name:  Beth Weber, Bobby Ivy, and Ethan Wilson
Title: Macroinvertebrate community composition studies on opposing borders of Castor canadensis establishments

Abstract: Biological, physical, and chemical assessments were conducted on an upstream and downstream American beaver dam site during April, 2014 in Buena Vista County, IA. Data were further analyzed for macroinvertebrate diversity to determine stream health. Methods included using a D-frame kick-net for macroinvertebrate collections, with the specific goal of identifying richness and abundance of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT). These three Orders are used to quantify EPT levels and to develop an Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI). Using data collected from not only EPT levels, but also physical stream characteristics, the IBI water quality comparison of the two sites resulted in the upstream site being “fair” and downstream being “poor.” The research hypothesis stating that the American beaver dam would have a positive effect on the downstream water quality was not supported. Due to the agricultural land use conditions of the local watershed, the stream system showed signs of degradation, which may have resulted in low macroinvertebrate diversity and overall low IBI scores. Further and more extensive assessments would need to be conducted for better accuracy.

 

 

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Students: Shaylia Barber and Jonathan Ehrlich
Title: The effects of atrazine on the planarian Dugesia dorotocephala

Abstract: The similarities between planarian and human stem cells allow us to see the effects that chemicals may have on the human body through the study of metabolomics with GC/MS analysis. Because planarians are able to regenerate, it is possible to study the role of environmental pollutants on planarian tumor production through the use of this emerging stem cell model. Our study incorporated the use of environmentally-relevant concentrations of atrazine, which is a widely used agricultural herbicide. The initial study involved the use of 100 ppb, 10 ppb, and 1 ppb dosing concentrations and behavioral assays to observe potential physiological responses when compared to control planarians after five days of exposure. Light and tactile sensitivity were observed with the 100 ppb samples, while only light sensitivity was observed with the 10 ppm samples, and no behavior modifications with the 1 ppb samples. Additionally, using two subsamples of ten Dugesia dorotocephala each, ten planarians were maintained in control water and ten in control water dosed with 100 ppb atrazine for five days. Following preparation, samples were analyzed with an Agilent 5973C mass spectrometer coupled with an Agilent 7890A gas chromatograph. The GC/MS results were inconclusive, although it is hypothesized that the presence of environmentally-relevant concentrations of atrazine may result in tumorgenesis due to atrazine’s secondary amine group reactions with nitrites that form N-nitrosoatrazine, which are known to increase abnormal chromosomes in lymphocytes.

 

 

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Student: Cristina Buse
Title: The effect of atrazine on immune responses of Mus musculus

Abstract: Atrazine, an endocrine disruptor (EDC), is an herbicide used to kill broadleaf weeds found in crops. Found mostly in ground water after application to farm fields, atrazine has been linked to disturbances in male amphibian reproductive systems. Previous studies have shown atrazine to be a chemical that alters the hormonal balance of amphibians, resulting in sterility among male populations. Studies have also shown immune effects on male rats in utero. This study investigated the effect of atrazine on immune responses in offspring of female Mus musculus C57/B16 mice following a dosing regimen. Pregnant mothers were dosed with 1 ppb of atrazine from day thirteen of pregnancy to birth. Offspring were infected with intestinal parasites beginning at six weeks of age. Liver and intestines were then extracted 60 days after infection. Liver tissue slices from treated and control mice were then investigated for presence of liver metacestode development. If identified, metacestodes were then counted and analyzed to determine if infection rates varied significantly in response to atrazine dosing.

 

 

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Student: Bobby Ivy and Ethan Wilson
Title: Biological, physical and chemical factors of Castor canadensis dams on local streams

 

 

 

 

 

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Student:
Derek Simonsen
Michelle Clinesmith
Cortney Weaver
Olivia Tuel
Garrett Reed