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Anirban Ghosh - Nutrient

Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

Investigation of Denitrification at Watersheds Throughout
the Chesapeake Bay, Particularly the Choptank Basin

The primary research I conducted this summer was directly concerned with investigating denitrification at watersheds throughout the Chesapeake Bay, particularly the Choptank Basin.  Denitrification is the reduction of nitrate, which results in elemental nitrogen and oxygen as products; these elements are not very useful to organisms living in sediment.  One of the most critical aspects of looking at nitrogen and oxygen levels is the fact that basic levels of production are compromised when there is excessive denitrification.  Changes in treatment methods of farmland throughout the latter part of the 1990’s gave rise to concerns about elevated denitrification.  Human activity has contributed considerably to the modification and rate of how denitrification occurs.  My research chiefly investigated isotopic analysis of nitrogen and oxygen in both stream water and soil samples from areas of the Choptank Basin.  Initial results will reveal correlation between levels of elemental nitrogen and oxygen.  In addition, isotope levels will be contrasted between the streams and the soil samples.  This will aid in ultimately explaining the effects that the environment and human activity have upon denitrification.

The future: Anirban Ghosh plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy and Administration.  He will be returning to Clarkson University in the fall of 2006 to complete his degree in Environmental Science and Policy.

Funding provided by the National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)