June 26, 2012—Kate Lueders, a North Central College senior majoring in biology, is conducting research and performing field work in Oregon this summer as a Sea Grant Scholar.
Lueders is keeping a blog about her experience and writes that she arrived in the Pacific Northwest in mid-June to undergo orientation and safety training. Her work this summer involves the study of nutrient uptake in tidal wetlands.
“Wetlands do the kind service of taking up nutrients from the water like reactive nitrogen that could be harmful to fish and other wildlife or that would cause harmful algal blooms,” Lueders writes. “The experiments our lab group are doing will look at various parameters (nutrient concentration, ratio of one nutrient to another, habitat type, light, temperature) and see how nutrient uptake is affected by changing them.”
Lueders is based in Newport, Ore., and already has carried out experiments at the Salmon River and Tillamook Bay estuaries and planned to also perform work at Alsea Bay and Yaquina Bay. Her work as a Sea Grant Scholar led to her being offered a position with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Western Ecology Division.
The Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar program offers undergraduates opportunities to learn about marine science, management and policy-making while gaining valuable professional skills. Goals of the program include improving human health and safety related to ocean and coastal resource use, promoting social progress and economic vitality and enhancing the sustainability of coastal ecosystems. The mission of Sea Grant Scholars is to promote public service through science, and many Sea Grant Scholars have gone on to noteworthy achievements in science, public policy and the private sector.
North Central offers degrees in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and other scientific areas of study. North Central alumni include leading doctors, researchers and others in the sciences.