A watershed describes an area of land that contains a common set of streams and rivers that all drain into a single larger body of water. The Lake Ontario watershed, part of the even greater Great Lakes watershed, includes innumerable water sources, two of which are Rice Creek and the Little Salmon River.
SUNY Oswego students are studying the watershed ecosystem’s health with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program, Rice Creek Associates and other sources. Two projects are freshwater snails and freshwater mussels.
“Pollutants in some aquatic ecosystems are increasing,” said Marta Tomaszewski ’16. “It can start with our little mussels and lead all the way to the top predators. That’s why it’s so important to study them.”
Team Mussel and Team Snail have completed hours of field work and histological review of the creatures at the center of their individual studies. Future plans include expanding to more sites—as well as new toxins—affecting the study subjects and providing a glimpse into the health of these tiny environmental biomonitors.