Francis Polakiewicz (’14) and Dr. Rachel Goodman recently wrapped up an experiment investigating interactions between chemical exposure and a wildlife disease on the health and survival of turtles. The two were awarded a Hampden-Sydney Student Faculty Summer Research grant for the project, and Polakiewicz was also awarded a Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Summer Undergraduate Science Research Fellowship Award. In their experiment, juvenile red-eared slider turtles were exposed to combinations of the emerging infectious disease ranavirus and four commonly used herbicides: Roundup, ShoreKlear, 2,4-D, and Atrazine. Polakiewicz and Dr. Goodman studied the growth and survival of turtles in these treatments for 5 weeks. Collaborator Dr. Debra Miller at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is currently examining tissues for evidence of infection and organ deterioration. Results of this study will help determine why some wild turtle populations carry the virus symptomatically, while others experience virus-associated dieoffs. If certain herbicides cause increased morbidity and mortality, this information could inform application practices of land managers.
Several students from Dr. Goodman's Environmental Biology class cleaned upcigarette butts around fraternity circle on Thurs, Dec 1. Patrick Adams,George Parrish, John Parrish, Matthew Gates, Matt Vail, Ibn Salaam, andJack Gibson (pictures below) each filled a sandwich bag full of butts-yummy! For more about the problem that cigarette butts pose as pollution,On Saturday, Dec 3, Colin Nickerson, Derrick Maxwell, and Patrick Lynch(pictured below) did a litter cleanup on the access road behind V-DOT.Among the regular trash items, they found over a hundred glass bottles,a tire, and an old street sign.Later on that day, Colin Nickerson, Nay Oo, Cody Murphey, and JacksonParker (pictured below) headed over to Briery Creek Wildlife ManagementArea, just south of the H-SC campus. They cleaned up trash around thedock, main parking lot area, and nearby walking trail.
On November 15, Matthew Gates, George Parrish, Mack Garret, John Parrish, and Matt Vail (pictured above) picked up hundreds of cigarette butts around the major dorm building and classrooms on campus. Most people don’t realize that these are plastic, NOT biodegradable, and toxic hazards to wildlife for years or decades after disposal (click here for more info). So remember to always mind your butts and tell your friends and family to safely dispose of them in proper receptacles!
On November 7, the following students (some shown above) collected several bags of litter from a local highway near the H-SC campus: Matthew Gates, George Parrish, Matt Vail, Patrick Adams, John Parrish, Alexander Tharp, Ryan Davis, Nick Caporale, Mac Garret.
Nice job, guys!!
On Sunday October 30, 11 volunteers including Drs. Rachel Goodman and Mike Wolyniak and H-SC students conducted a waterway cleanup as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. This event involves people from over 75 countries removing millions of pounds of trash from beaches and waterways, and is headed locally by Clean Virginia Waterways.
In two hours, the crew picked up over 100 pounds of litter, including plastic bags, food wrappers, and fishing lines which are dangerous for animals that can be entangled and choked by them.
Over 200 cigarette butts were collected. Most people don’t realize that these are plastic, NOT biodegradable, and toxic hazards to wildlife for years or decades after disposal (click here for more info). So remember to always mind your butts and tell your friends and family to safely dispose of them in proper receptacles!
Tyler assisted with waterfowl banding at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of NC with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), and at a salt marsh on the Eastern Shore of VA with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF).
Waterfowl banding operations are important because they help monitor the distribution, harvest rates and survival rates for many waterfowl species. This data is important because it helps the agencies determine appropriate hunting regulations for each hunting season.
On Thursday April 21, a group of H-SC students from Dr. Goodman’s BIOL 185 Water Resources & Environmental Issues course (plus 1 volunteer from CKI) teamed up to build rain barrels. These 41 barrels will be distributed at upcoming educational workshops run by Clean Virginia Waterways.
Rain barrels help the environment by conserving water, which does not have to be treated and pumped to the home if it is coming out of a barrel.
Also, rain barrels reduce runoff, which can cause erosion, plus carry fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals into streams where they are very damaging.
If your roof’s area is 1,200 square feet (30 x 40 feet), then 1 inch of rain equals more than 700 gallons! You can harvest this rainwater which otherwise would be lost to runoff.
For more information on upcoming workshops with rain barrels, visit Clean Virginia Waterways.
Yonathan Tarekegne Ararso.– Over the summer, I spent 8 weeks working on a Herpetology research project with Dr. Rachel Goodman. The project was a survey on the presence of infectious diseases Ranavirus and the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis—which have contributed to the significant loss of the world’s amphibian & reptilian population. Our survey took place on three different sites in the Prince Edward County area: Briery Creek Wild Life Management, Chalgrove Lake (HSC), and Tadpole Hole Pond (HSC). We captured and collected data on over 170 turtles and 140 frogs. From the sites, we collected tissue samples and swabs to be tested via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at a laboratory in University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine
A significant part of the project was field work, so I learned a lot about trapping, hand capturing, collecting data, and handling amphibians and reptiles. The research and writing aspect of the project was also a great experience.