Friday, August 22, 2014
Biology student honored for aquatic science research
Through her research as a master's student at Oakland University, Stacey Wensink finds that a common practice of "hardening" shorelines can disrupt the surrounding ecosystem.
|A master's student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Oakland University, Stacey Wensink receives accolades for her research on the environmental impacts of of "hardening" shorelines.
Wensink was one of several OU biology students who presented research at the first-ever Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon this past June. Her poster presentation, “Riprap alters the structure and function of Lake St. Clair shorelines,” has won the award for the 2014 Best Poster Presentation in Applied Research from the Society for Freshwater Science.
Wensink explained that piles of concrete or stone, riprap, is used to prevent erosion and flooding on waterfront properties.
“We found that hardened shorelines are physically very different from natural shorelines,” Wensink said. “Riprap negatively affected shoreline ecosystem function, particularly in terrestrial areas of shorelines. Organic matter decomposed slowly on riprap-hardened shorelines, and wrack (washed-up organic matter) was less able to accumulate in terrestrial shoreline areas. As a result, riprap appears to reduce nutrient availability and connectivity between the lake and shoreline ecosystems.”
Wensink conducted her research with guidance from Dr. Scott Tiegs, assistant professor in Oakland's Department of Biological Sciences.
“Stacey is a very deserving student,” Dr. Tiegs said. “She has worked hard and done quality work at every stage of her master’s thesis; it is wonderful to see her efforts and talents acknowledged with this award.”
For her award, Wensink will receive a $250 check and be presented with a certificate at the 2015 Society for Freshwater Science Conference in Milwaukee.
For more information on programs and opportunities Oakland’s Department of Biological Sciences, visit the website at oakland.edu/biology. Learn more about OU’s Aquatic Ecology lab at the website.