SC DHEC Clean Metals Project

Experience Type: 
Student Employee
Date Participated: 
January, 2010 to August, 2011
Experience Description: 
My major professor, Dr. Jane Guentzel, received funding from DHEC to sample and analyze surface waters and sediments for total and methyl mercury throughout SC. The project also included 4 sites for zinc and copper analysis in surface waters. We began working on the SOPs, QAPPS, logistical coordination, and gear preparation in Januaury 2010. Before we could began the project, DHEC had to approve our plans and certify us for sample collection. The first of the 4 quarterly sampling trips was in November 2010. The remaining trips were in Februaury 2011, May 2011, and August 2011. The objective of this project was to determine the levels of total and methyl mercury in water and sediments in differing ecoregions of SC. These findings may help explain potential factors that regulate the spatial variability of mercury levels in water and sediments and how they relate to the mercury in the fish. SC has more than 60 fish cosumption advisories due to elevated methyl mercury concentrations in freshwater fish. A second objective of the study was to examine how the mercury levels in the water and sediment may change on a seasonal basis.
This project provided me with training and experience in trace metal sampling. I also gained a better understanding of how research grants are written and initiated. Overall this project was a good educational experience that will hopefully aid with future employment opportunities.