Wigdahl-Perry receives USGS grant to continue rain monitoring station

Roger Coda
student Kasey Crandall at computer

Senior Kasey Crandall

The United States Geological Survey has awarded a five-year contract to Department of Biology Associate Professor Courtney Wigdahl-Perry to continue operation of an acid precipitation monitoring station.

The $68,593 contract for the Chautauqua County Monitoring Station, of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP), will fund operation and maintenance of the station, located in Stockton, and a stipend for an undergraduate science student to serve as a data collector and maintain equipment.

“Students have the opportunity to gain training in field work and sample processing for labs, and also get to participate in a national monitoring program for key environmental issues,” Wigdahl-Perry said.

Kasey Crandall, a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies: Environmental Sciences, with a minor in Biology, from Stockton, is currently serving as the data collector.

In place since the 1980s, the NADP tracks the chemistry of rainfall across the United States. The Fredonia monitoring station is part of a network of 250 sites that collect samples for analysis to track chemical changes in precipitation due to air pollution and other factors, Dr. Wigdahl-Perry explained. Analysis of collected samples allows researchers to identify local as well as regional changes in rainfall.

“When you start looking at patterns of changes, what is happening in chemistry across the country, you get the big picture, a sense of what areas might be sensitive to some types of pollution,” Wigdahl-Perry said. “You really see what the daily variations are, short-term, and also the longer patterns of precipitation chemistry.”

As technicians, students gain valuable training in collecting data and preparing samples for lab analysis. Samples are collected 52 weeks each year.

 

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