Earth Science / Geology
Steve Mattox: I am interested in collaborating to explore connections between unknown sources of E. coli, the Grand River, and beach closings on Lake Michigan. In addition to summarizing past events and research we will become proficient at field and lab techniques and design single-day sampling campaigns along the river. Additional research partners will probably include the Annis Water Resources Institute and the Kent County Health Department.
Peter J. Wampler: Since construction of Grand Valley State University's (GVSU) Allendale Campus began in 1960, infrastructure has steadily increased to accommodate a growing student population. By 2004, this growth had resulted in roughly 170 acres of impermeable surfaces (buildings, parking lots, and walkways) with rapid and abundant runoff. The GVSU campus developed when local ordinances allowed for capture and collection of stormwater into storm sewer pipes with direct discharge downstream without treatment or management; a practice that continued until 1995. The storm sewer pipes discharged into a series of ravines leading to the Grand River and ultimately Lake Michigan. As a result, significant erosion and degradation of the ravine watercourses has occurred, destabilizing ravine slopes, negatively impacting wildlife habitat, and degrading water quality in the Grand River and Lake Michigan. Research efforts to date have included extensive hydrologic monitoring, baseline surveys, and water sampling for geochemical constituents and sediment. Several green infrastructure projects, including green roofs, rain gardens, porous pavements, and wetland construction have partially restored the natural hydrology of the ravine ecosystems and will at least partially reduce erosion rates caused by land development.
Teachers working on this project will have the opportunity to: 1) identify and evaluate alternate uses for the water generated from hard surfaces; 2) monitor and evaluate multiple Best Management Practices (BMPs) for reducing the amount of runoff being generated; 3) measure impacts to the ravine system adjacent to campus using surveys, water and sediment samples, and geomorphic mapping; 4) participate in long term data collection and monitoring of the constructed wetlands west of campus; and 5) use geographic information system tools to model runoff and land use changes on campus.
Figen Mekik: I am interested in general oceanography and modern human induced climate change. My expertise is based on research I do with the Earth's past climates and times of climatic change. Mostly I work with deep sea sediments and fossils within them. There are many projects for students and teachers alike in my work.
Patrick M. Colgan: As a geomorphologist, I study the processes and history of landscapes. My projects include looking at the history of human land use changes and their effects on rivers in Michigan. I also have done research on the glacial geologic history of the last Ice Age in the Great Lakes Region. I use the tools of geophysics and sedimentology to study these landscapes. Geophysical methods include using ground penetrating radar, seismic refraction, and a proton precession magnetometer to understand what types of sediments lie below us. I also use radiocarbon and paleomagnetic methods as well as cesium and lead isotopes to estimate the age of sediments. Continuous coring and drilling of natural sediments in west Michigan as well as field/lab work describing soils and sediments are a routine part of all my research projects. I welcome collaboration with those who like to work outside as well as in the lab, and don't mind getting a bit dirty.