A crucial part of the student experience in the Geosciences Program at Mansfield is the opportunity that students have to collaborate directly with professors on research projects. A number of our students have presented their work at regional and national conferences, and some continue their studies at the graduate level. Examples of such projects include:
- Ground Penetrating Radar Projects
- Abandoned Wells Search
Additionally, all students are required to complete a senior research project. A small sample of projects are described below.
Using Diatoms to Determine Water Quality
Christopher Oliver-Nez collected and analyzed diatoms from three streams in Tioga County, and demonstrated that streams with the lowest water quality have the lowest diversity of diatom genera and high quality streams have a high diversity of diatoms genera. This project illustrates the value in using diatom analysis to track changes in water quality over time in Tioga County.
Delineating Watersheds in GIS and Creating a Land Use Map
Using digital elevation models, Ian Rathbun and Eric Hofer delineated Mill Creek watershed (located in northern Tioga County), then digitized land use data from Bradford and Tioga counties within the watershed. The resulting maps are used by other students working in the Mill Creek watershed.
Precision Nutrient Testing
Rachel Runner collected and processed 20 ft. interval soil samples from Shaute Baseball Field on Mansfield University campus in order to produce a precision map of soil nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations. The results of this project indicated areas that required fertilizer and those areas that did not require fertilizer.
Rates of Soil Organic Matter Decomposition (Forest vs Non-Forest)
Hang Nyguyen buried organic material (tea) in a forested area and a non-forested area over a period of three months and was able to determine the rate of decomposition of both tea groups and demonstrate that rates of organic decomposition are higher in non-forested locations and that forest soils retain a higher portion of organic material. This study reinforces the importance of forest soils as carbon sinks.
Seasonal Change in Invertebrate Populations, and Index of Biotic Integrity
Carolynn DeWitt collected invertebrates from Mill Creek during the summer months, identified and quantified each sample, and calculated the index of biotic integrity (IBI) represented by each sample. Carolynn demonstrated that although the population structure changed throughout the season, the IBI did not.