||It's a bug's life
RELEASED: Aug. 7, 2003
DANVILLE, KYOn a warm summer's day, James Trombetti '04 can often be found knee-deep in the creek wearing his green waders. This has nothing to do with fishing; instead Trombetti turns rocks, digs in the gravel and looks at bugsall in the name of science.
Trombetti is doing collaborative research this summer with Rose-Marie Roessler, lab coordinator in Centre's biology department. The research involves a bio-assessment of Clark's Run in Danville. The year-long project will study the aquatic invertebrates/insects in the creek in order to monitor the water quality of the creek.
"Some insects are more intolerant to pollution than others, and their absence at a site can indicate a lot about water quality," Roessler explained. "Insects aren't as mobile as fish and any impacts on the insects because of pollution will be visible in a short period."
The site was chosen because of the impact that any changes in water quality would have on the Centre College community and Danville residents. Clark's Run feeds into Herrington Lake, which is a main source of water for the area. In 1995, Clark's Run was rated as impaired, meaning that it's not capable of supporting aquatic life. With the research, Trombetti and Roessler hope to find out how future impacts of agriculture and industry will affect the water quality.
Trombetti, a biology major from Louisville, is enthusiastic about the project.
"When I was a kid, I was always playing in the creek or fishing," he said. "Anything to do with animals fascinated me. When I came to college, I took classes such as freshwater biology, which taught me not to regard insects in creeks and waterways as trivial, but to appreciate the important role they play."
Roessler praised Trombetti's skills.
"James has a natural aptitude for this," she said. "He sees things and notices differences easily. It's exciting to get a young person like this interested in such a vital project because water quality affects us all."
Trombetti said that he's gained valuable experience from his collaborative research and this has encouraged him to pursue a degree in aquatic biology in graduate school.
The findings of the joint research will be presented by Trombetti at the Kentucky Academy of Science in November and to the Danville community as part of a campaign for water quality improvement.
Centre offers many opportunities for students to do collaborative research with faculty members during the academic year and summer. A number of students are doing collaborative research this summer.
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