Chemical Research on Crooked Lake, Columbia City, IN

Research in the Geyer Laboratory focuses on the need for developing a sustainable environment.  In order to do so, we need to evaluate, improve, and/or discontinue many existing chemical processes. Many of the Geyer Laboratory projects are focused on examining current processes and products in hopes of improving them for future generations.  Below is a representation of some of the research in the Geyer Laboratory.

Monitoring Phosphate and Nitrate Levels in Crooked Lake

Nitrate and phosphate levels can serve as indicators of lake health.  Crooked Lake is one of the most pristine lakes in Indiana, so enhanced nitrate levels would present a potential concern about the future of the lake.  During preliminary investigations of Crooked Lake by the environmental chemistry students and Warren Pryor’s marine biology students a potential for elevated nitrate levels was discovered.  As a result, the Geyer and Pryor Laboratories designed a summer research project that would enable us to assess if there should be any concern about the nitrate levels in Crooked Lake. Student Researchers: Conner Powell, Alex Boyle, Ashley Cross,  Alex Diaz, Jenna Euchre, Alexandra Meyer, Holly Green, Kaitelyn Vachon, and Nirupama Devanathan.

Using Mussels as an Indicator for Ibuprofen Levels in Local Waters

Mussels can commonly be found in the Fort Wayne rivers.  Recent research reveals that pharmaceuticals can have a negative impact on mussels.  Our work focuses on developing a method that can be used with the equipment available at USF to determine ibuprofen levels in mussels. Nick Litavec worked on this project.

Alexandra Meyer collecting samples in the field for analysis.

Alexandra Meyer collecting samples in the field for analysis.

Analysis of the Energy Content of Plankton in Crooked Lake

The Geyer and Pryor Laboratories are interested in investigating the amount of energy that the mussels take in by eating.  This can be addressed by determining the energy content of their food supply, which is plankton.  Initial studies in focused on determining the available energy content of the water in Crooked Lake through bomb calorimetry studies of plankton.   Later studies focused on determining ash-free dry weight of smaller particle sizes in water collected in the mussel beds.  This work was completed in collaboration with undergraduates Ashley Taylor and Alexandra Meyer .

Ashley Taylor presenting her research at an American Chemical Society Meeting

Ashley Taylor presenting her research at an American Chemical Society Meeting