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Blog Education OSCAR

Micropollutants in the Potomac

Led by principal investigators Amy Fowler and Kim de Mutsert, the Summer Team Project looked at the effects of micropollutants on the Potomac River watershed. Projects were funded by the Students as Scholars at Mason as well as the Patriot Green Fund, and the videos were produced by graduate student, Chelsea Gray, thanks to the Virginia Sea Grant.

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Blog

A New Way to Study Fish?

Written by: Jessie Melton

River herring, Alosa pseudoharengus and Alosa aestivalis, are an anadromous fish species that migrate from marine waters through estuaries to freshwater nurseries in order to spawn and lay eggs. River herring have historically been a valuable commercial species in fisheries, but the stocks collapsed throughout their native region along the Atlantic Coast since the 1990s. The Potomac Environmental Research and Educational Center (PEREC) has conducted an ongoing study of Gunston Cove for the past three and a half decades, and has incorporated the monitoring of river herring population to aid in determining whether or not the moratorium is beneficial to the decline in river herring abundance. 

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Blog OSCAR

Macroinvertebrates and Micropollutants

OSCAR student Michael Rollins talks about his summer 2017 research. Led by principal investigators Amy Fowler and Kim de Mutsert, the Summer Team Project looked at the effects of micropollutants on the Potomac River watershed. Projects were funded by the Students as Scholars at Mason as well as the Patriot Green Fund, and the videos were produced by graduate student, Chelsea Gray, thanks to the Virginia Sea Grant.

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Blog OSCAR

Water: A Fish’s Pharmacy

Written by: Tabitha King

Here you can see Lisa McAnulty and I weighing out sediment to begin the extraction stage of sample processing. We are and will be using an adaptation of a QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) method to process both our sediment and fish tissue samples.

What if I told you fish could potentially be ingesting caffeine, pain medicine, and other pharmaceuticals on a daily basis? You may be wondering how this is possible since fish do not regularly visit the pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions. However, there is a growing concern amongst scientists and other stakeholders that the very medications we are taking (even common allergy relievers) are not being removed during wastewater treatment. Current regulations placed on wastewater treatment plants do not require the removal of such substances. To make matters worse, if a treatment plant was to take on the task of removing pharmaceuticals from their customers’ sewage, there are new compounds made on a daily basis. Each chemical would require a unique form of effective removal to ensure at least a majority is removed before treated water is discharged into local waterways. It is currently not known at what amounts of these medications are making their way into our local waterways and accumulating in aquatic organisms and sediment.

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Blog Education OSCAR

Being an Ecologist

Written By: Michael Rollins; Photo Credit: Sammie Alexander

Figure 1. Mason Senior Michael Rollins slowly submerges his macroinvertebrate bottle trap with assistance of PEREC team member Heather Nortz in Gunston Cove, VA

You would never think that drinking 16 liters of soda would be key to being an ecologist. I didn’t either. As a George Mason University senior, finishing my degree in environmental science with a concentration in marine, estuarial, and freshwater ecology, I am participating in an OSCAR undergraduate summer research project.