Nutrient Cycling in Riparian Zones with Wyndom Chace '21

At the last log lunch, sophomore Wyndom Chace presented on her CES-funded summer internship at the University of Rhode Island. She conducted research on how nutrients used for fertilizer, like nitrogen and phosphorus, behave throughout riparian zones.

A riparian zone is any land adjacent to a stream, and Wyndom studied them south of Providence, near sod fields–plots dedicated to the growth of grass for placement in other regions where lush, fertilizer-enriched grass is desired. These fertilizers, though, have serious consequences on the delicate ecosystems they are a part of.

By conducting a series of field tests, Wyndom tested groundwater in the area for pH and chemical concentrations. Her big takeaway is that riparian zones can reduce eutrophication, but there are trade-offs: like more greenhouse gases and phosphate release, as well as more research and management practices needed.

 

—Jane Tekin, ’19