A trio is continuing eight years of research on the nutrient levels and impact of zebra mussels in the lake. The students are studying nutrient levels in the lake and the impact on aquatic life from zebra mussels and agricultural pollutants as part of a summer research program. John Halfman, professor of geoscience and director of environmental studies, is overseeing the research. William Smith junior Ann Walker is studying the amount and types of sediment in the lake and how they relate to the invasion and rise of the zebra mussels and the decline of the small crustacean diporeia, a key source of food for fish. Cathy Caiazza, a sophomore, is observing the sodium, or salt, content of the lake to learn why Seneca Lake has higher levels than the other Finger Lakes. Rob Stewart, a senior, is examining the flow of nutrients, such as phosphorus, into the lake.
Two William Smith students are studying five streams along the western shore of Seneca Lake to understand how the way people use the surrounding land affects water quality. Junior Claire MacNamara and senior Jennifer Hamblett are working with biology professor Jim Ryan to monitor the water quality by taking samples of the water in each stream.
This research was featured in the story “Students studying Seneca Lake” in the July 15 Daily Messenger.