Taking Finger Lakes Research on the Road – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Taking Finger Lakes Research on the Road

The Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting will include presentations of research by two William Smith students

(March 11, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y.—Two students from William Smith College will make presentations at the annual meeting for the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., March 14-16. Both conducted research under HWS Associate Professor of Geoscience John Halfman.

Junior Kathleen Bush, from Henrietta, N.Y., will present “Total Coliform and E. coli Bacteria Concentrations in the Seneca Lake, N.Y., Watershed.” During her research, she took samples from stream and lake sites to determine significant sources of contamination. She found the concentrations were generally well below the Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant levels. Her study suggests that agriculture and septic system sources pose potential but not detrimental impacts on the bacterial integrity of the Seneca Lake watershed.

Sophomore Rachel Sukeforth, from Litchfield, Maine, will present “Spatial and Temporal Trends in Major Ion Concentrations from the Finger Lakes, N.Y.” Sukeforth has analyzed monthly water samples from Canadice, Honeoye, Canandaigua, Keuka, Owasco, Skaneateles, and Otisco lakes with annual samples collected over four years for chloride, sulfate, fluoride, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, to construct a preliminary hydrogeochemical budget for the major ions. Her findings are consistent with past research, and suggest a bedrock control on the fluvial ion flux to each lake.

Halfman, who is the director of environmental studies, came to the Colleges in 1994. He holds a B.S. from Miami, an M.S. from Minnesota, and a Ph.D. from Duke University. He is also the academic coordinator for the Finger Lakes Institute, which fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the Finger Lakes region.

The Hobart and William Smith science departments and environmental studies program encourages students to involve themselves in research projects with paper presentations beyond the HWS campus.