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I’m working with Claire Duchet, a postdoctoral fellow from France. I am assisting her with her research project that examines the effects of a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids on an organism called Ceriodaphnia dubia. The specific neonicotinoids being used are Clothianidin, Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam and a mix of all three. The experiment involves subjecting adult and neonate C. dubia to specific concentrations of the pesticides listed above and examine the survival/mortality rate using a population study. I am also assisting her and her colleague on examining the effects of storm water runoff on C. dubia. In the future, I may also be assisting a few researchers in the fish lab, with their experiments on Coho salmon.
The project that I am helping with is looking into the toxic compounds in stormwater runoff that leads to Pre spawn Mortality of Coho Salmon. The goal is to identify specific compounds or mixtures in the stormwater that causes Pre spawn Mortality and come up with solutions that can save Coho Salmon in urban streams. So far, we collected stormwater runoff from a DOT bioswale off WA 518 and currently running it through Q TOF (high resolution mass spectrometer) to identify the compounds in the runoff water.
I am working with Dr. Robin Evans Agnew to establish an air monitoring system on the roof of the CUW with the intent of conducting a long term citizen science project. This would not only allow people in the Tacoma Tideflats to participate in air data sampling but it will also provide supplemental data concerning air pollution in the Tideflats. The air monitoring system will not be just a fixed station of instruments. Instead, it will be the network by which the citizen science project will be conducted. This will include obtaining mobile air samplers, hosting community awareness events, and partnering with coalitions in Tacoma.
We are looking at streamflows and how they affect their surrounding areas. Some of this has involved reading journals and papers written by academics who have dealt with streamflow, but most of it has involved sifting through the data that exists already (provided by the USGS). We basically want to take this data and find simple ways to inform the public about how streamflow variation affect local characteristics. Recently, I have been trying to summarize the data annually to see if there is a trend among years. From here, I am working on taking these trends and compiling them with their mean streamflow over the entire time period along with the correlation coefficient. Having this data in a compact way will allow us to compare streams to each other as well as seeing the effect of individual streamflows over time.
The research project I am working on involves the phenomenon of pre spawn mortality among Coho salmon in urban streams. Studies have found that there is a correlation between percentage of impermeable surface cover on a watershed and the mortality rate in spawning salmon populations. Strikingly, in some streams the mortality rate is high enough that the Coho salmon are predicted to go extinct within a matter of decades, if not sooner. The question,
then, that we are trying to answer is: what compound in urban storm water runoff is killing Coho salmon prior to them spawning? Using the Quadrupole Time of Flight Liquid Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometer, we have been analyzing storm water samples and fish tissue extractions in the hope of identifying the compound(s) that have been causing pre spawn mortality in Coho salmon.
Internship overview (as advertised to applicants)
The University of Washington Tacoma has several internships for energetic undergraduate students at the Center for Urban Waters, a collaboration among UW Tacoma, the City of Tacoma, and the Puget Sound Partnership. These paid positions are an excellent opportunity to gain valuable research experience working side by side with environmental professionals engaged in significant regional projects. Currently enrolled students and recent graduates with strengths in fields such as environmental science and engineering, social sciences, public health, mathematics, GIS, and computer science are encouraged to apply.
The Urban Waters Summer Intern Program is open to current undergraduate students and recent graduates from any UW campus, as well as other colleges and universities. Interns must commit to working a minimum of 160 hours at $15/hour over the course of the summer (mid June mid September). Interns will be required to attend an orientation on June 13th. The summer experience will conclude with an opportunity for interns to present the results of their work on September 15th. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma.
Environmental Forensics:tracking sources of pollutants to Puget Sound
Modeling loadings of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to Puget Sound
Multivariate analysis of stormwater dataApplication of mass spectrometry to discover toxic agents in stormwater
Use of science in Puget Sound ecosystem restoration policies
Exploring markers for pollutants in urban air in community located near industrial facilities
Detection of microplastics in Puget Sound water and biota
Specific duties will vary depending on the project to which an intern is assigned, but may include work in a laboratory, office, or outdoor setting. Projects are not limited to the ones described above.