Gannon University Receives Two Grants for Lake Erie Watershed Research
Posted: March 9, 2016
Gannon University's Department of Environmental Science and
Engineering recently received two grants from the Pennsylvania Sea
Grant program to support research in the Lake Erie watershed.
Rick Diz, Ph.D., P.E., the department's chairman, will conduct a
24-month research project to understand harmful algal blooms in
Presque Isle Bay. The research team will also include biologist
Steve Mauro, Ph.D., interim provost and vice president for academic
affairs at Gannon; biologist J. Michael Campbell, Ph.D. of
Mercyhurst University; and student research assistants. The group
will conduct extensive fieldwork to monitor Presque Isle Bay and
the streams discharging into the Bay.
Using software developed by the United States Environmental
Protection Agency (US EPA), the researchers will seek to discover
the possible causes of harmful algal blooms, and to evaluate
strategies to prevent the blooms and their adverse effects. The
grant supporting this research was for $74,375.
Additionally, Michelle Homan, Ph.D., associate professor of
environmental science and engineering; Hwidong Kim, Ph.D.,
assistant professor of environmental science and engineering; and
Mauro will conduct a 24-month research project to evaluate the
exposure to and human health risks associated with pharmaceuticals
and personal-care products in drinking water originating from Lake
Erie. Environmental science student research assistants will assist
in the study that was funded by a $74,079 grant.
"We are pleased to be given the opportunity to continue to help
improve the quality of the world around us," said Diz.
"These grants continue the long history of Gannon students
studying Presque Isle Bay and Erie's environmental quality," he
said. "Our first project on the Bay was in 1999 when we helped the
US EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
determine if sediments in the Bay were toxic."
Gannon University has since continued to conduct research funded
by Sea Grants. In 2014 the community was able to benefit from the
research of biology, and fresh water and marine biology majors who
completed a study of skin tumors found on brown bullhead fish in
Presque Isle Bay. These students are now applying to further their
education at graduate schools across the country.
The Pennsylvania Sea Grant Program (PASG) was established in
1998 as a partnership between Penn State University, The
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). PASG sponsors research,
education, training and outreach projects to establish
science-based decisions concerning the use and conservation of
coastal resources along the 77 miles of the Lake Erie