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October 18, 2005
UD Receives Grant for Mississippi River Research


The University of Dubuque recently received a $4,000 grant from the Iowa Science Foundation (ISF) (under the auspices of the Iowa Academy of Science) to pilot the research project, "Assessing Trace Metals Contamination in the Upper Mississippi River with a Bioindicator."

"Funds from this grant will allow us to initiate a study regarding the impacts on water quality of the upper Mississippi River resulting from past industries in tri-state area," stated Chulsung Kim, project director and assistant professor of chemistry. "I am happy to have ISF's financial support for this research initiation - providing our environmental science students with many opportunities for research experience. The findings will be a great resource for future water quality research on the Mississippi River."

Experiments will be conducted to evaluate the effects of local abandoned mining areas on the trace metal contamination of the upper Mississippi River. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), to be used as bioindicators, and sediment samples will be collected to evaluate the overall trace metal contamination of the Mississippi River. In addition, the experiments will evaluate the bio-accumulation of trace metals by exposing the mussels to aquatic environments near the mining areas for short periods of time.

The research will help students to understand the impact abandoned mining sites have on the Mississippi River, predict future trace metal contamination levels, and remediate the Mississippi River. In addition, the data on trace metals in zebra mussels and sediment samples will be used as a reference indicator for other organisms, including various aquatic species that directly relate to the health of local residents who use the Mississippi River for recreation.

"Through activities such as this, students have the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the need for environmental stewardship. It is our hope that they will become passionate about
carrying this concern into their future communities," said John Stewart, vice president for academic affairs.

The results obtained through this research will be shared through various means, such as conference presentations, including at the Iowa Academy of Science and the Mississippi River Research Consortium.

The Iowa Science Foundation is a state-supported grant program administered by the Iowa Academy of Science - a non-profit organization established to promote scientific research, science education, public understanding of science, and recognition of excellence in these endeavors.