PSU students research mining impact on ecosystems

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SOUTHEAST KANSAS – Pittsburg State students are researching how Southeast Kansas’ mining past affects ecosystems now.

Through a grant provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, students are testing the water quality in the Neosho and Spring Rivers. They are looking into how levels of lead, zinc, and cadmium affect fish and aquatic invertebrate. A similar study was conducted back in the 1990’s and found that fish were a lot less common in the Spring River compared to the Neosho River. And more than 20 years later, students are looking to see if that trend has changed.

“What we’re really hoping to see is a positive response from all the fish and invertebrates to this improved water quality. Because it is really great that the water quality has gotten so much better than what is was in the 90’s.”

James Whitney, PSU Biology Dept.

Students will spend the rest of this summer and next summer conducting their research. And they plan to publish their findings once the investigation is complete.

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