Browsing Environmental Studies (Bi-College) by Title
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- ItemAcclimation of Ginkgo biloba Photosynthetic Biochemistry Under Elevated Carbon Dioxide: Paleo-proxy and Conservation Consequences(2021) Dougherty, James Fitzmyer; Wilson, JonathanClimate change poses an enormous threat to the world's ecosystems (Shukla et. al 2019). As a result, it is important to evaluate the ecological consequences of other climates in Earth's history. A valuable way to approximate paleo-CO2 concentrations is by using plant proxies, such as the Ginkgo biloba stomatal index - paleo-CO2 model (Barlcay and Wing 2016). To determine the reliability of G. biloba as a paleo-CO2 proxy, it is necessary to understand whether G. biloba photosynthetic biochemistry acclimates to elevated CO2. If the biochemistry is significantly different than it is under ambient conditions, researchers will need to reassess the model. We planted three ages of G. biloba in open-top chambers with different CO2 concentrations, measured photosynthetic data using a Li-cor 6400XT, and calculated biochemical parameters utilizing the Plantecophys package in R. These results suggest that the G. biloba paleo-CO2 proxy should not need major modification, since a change in Jmax is less disruptive than a change in Vcmax.
- ItemAnthropogenic Contamination in US Nearshore Waters: Analysis of Coastal Flooding Concerns and Nonpoint Pollution Risk Factors(2022) Kerns, Ellie; White, Helen K.Runoff from land introduces anthropogenic contaminants to nearshore marine environments impacting water quality and ecosystem health. The expansion of urban land area and associated urban population growth, without efforts to reduce urban runoff, threatens the health of nearshore waters. Due to sea level rise there will be a greater frequency of general coastal flooding and major flood events that can amplify this problem. This study explores 185 coastal counties within the 18 states of the United States that have coastal land area and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. We looked at the occurrences of coastal flooding, storm surge, and tropical storms and hurricanes within each county. To identify areas of particular concern for increased runoff of anthropogenic contaminants, we cross-referenced each county's city structure, population growth, superfund sites, farmland percentage, and copper and coal mines. Overall, we found 33 counties with high flood concern and within that 6 counties that have high risk for increased anthropogenic contamination. Looking into the future, as the US continues to coastally urbanize and climate change continues to impact coastal waters, we will need to continue to monitor anthropogenic contamination of nearshore waters.
- Item"Can I get a cup of coffee with that sustainability?" An Analysis of the Environmental, Ethical, and Economic Aspects of the Coffee Industry(2020) Jaycobs, Jolie; Dhillon, Carla MayThis paper aims to accomplish three main objectives; the first is to evaluate the coffee industry using the triple bottom line theory. This theory uses the social, environmental, and economic components of business to analyze sustainability and it emphasizes the inherent tensions between each component. The second objective is to make the coffee industry more transparent for the general public. A significant disconnect exists between the consumers and producers of coffee, resulting in a lack of awareness around environmental and social injustices. The last objective is to educate consumers on how to purchase coffee ethically, diswayding consumers from solely relying on certifications. In order to achieve these objectives, we conducted three case studies. We consulted three roasters in Philadelphia: La Colombe, ReAnimator, and Elixr, focusing on a single origin coffee from each shop; one from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and El Salvador, respectively. Using the triple bottom line framework, we analyzed the roaster and the coffee industry in each of these countries to highlight the main environmental, economic, and social dynamics that the consumer should be aware of. The trade-offs vary between each country, but often involve an economic component due to the power of capital. When purchasing coffee we recommend consumers identify the country of origin, look for transparency, start a dialogue with the roaster to learn about buying practices, and support shade-grown coffee.
- ItemClosed-Loop Composting at Haverford College: Proposal and Implementation Plan(2022) Edwards, Alexandra; Douglas, JoanneProposal for a Closed-Loop Composting System on Haverford's Campus
- ItemFrom the Reservoir: A Feasibility Report for Migratory Bird Habitats and Educational Materials for the Philadelphia Discovery Center(2020) Luu, Michelle; Dhillon, Carla MayThe Discovery Center is a nature and education center operated by the Audubon Society and Outward Bound. It is located in Philadelphia's East Fairmount Park, one of the largest and only green spaces in the urban area. It consists of a bird-friendly building, a climbing structure, and a nature trail, all situated around the Strawberry Mansion reservoir. The Center is only one year old and is in the process of diversifying its current ecosystems while continuing to serve the surrounding community to fulfill its mission of conservation and environmental justice. Our project combined dialogue with members of the center, observation of bird and plant species, and several rounds of water testing to establish background data for the report. This paper is divided into ecological and educational components. The ecology section includes a review of biodiversity and artificial habitats, an analysis of our water testing and observational data, and proposals and information for construction of an artificial floating habitat. By constructing this habitat, the Center will increase and preserve the biodiversity of the reservoir, which will encourage migration and provide resiliency against climate change. The educational component begins with a review of land-based education, accessibility, and informal learning, then provides some sample didactic materials for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to gather comprehensive baseline data and provide feasible recommendations and materials that the Discovery Center will be able to implement in years to come.
- ItemGreensgrow Garden Activities: Engaging urban youth in experiential environmental learning(2021) Kane, Alex; Grossman, Sara J.; DeBrito, MegGreensgrow is an urban farm located in Philadelphia whose mission is to provide an essential connection to food and nature in an urban community, connecting wellness through green space and promoting the greening of Philadelphia's homes and gardens. As they grow and develop as a non-profit, they are seeking to build more extensive educational opportunities at their farm. This project builds off a previous work creating activities for a somatic curriculum for Greensgrow. Last semester, three environmental studies seniors created 8 activities, to which we will add 15 more to create a more comprehensive booklet for Greensgrow to run activities starting in fall 2021. Through this work, we hope to connect urban-living students with nature, expanding their knowledge of and connection to the land. Through movement-based activities, students will gain a greater understanding of a variety of environmental topics such as pollination, water, plant identification/characteristics, and more. Ultimately, students should feel empowered and passionate about making their urban environments more green and connected with nature.
- ItemImaging Calamites: Methodologies of Investigating Carboniferous Period Plant Hydraulics(2023) Mamlin, Charles B.; Wilson, JonathanAnthropogenic climate change poses an imminent threat to humanity, and understanding how plants contribute to global climate homeostasis is paramount to mediating the effects of such change both today and for the future. Paleobotanical study, although largely undiscussed in modern discourse surrounding climate change, can provide key insights into how plants have uniquely acted as an interface between the biosphere and planetary environments throughout history. Extinct plants’ anatomical structures supply a window into the evolution of plant-level morphological traits, and environmental and climatic feedbacks through time. Measuring the dimensions of water transport cells (xylem) in extinct plants allows for the study of past hydraulic strategies, and yields insights into the history of how plant communities have responded to past episodes of climate change. During this project, we delve into the methodologies behind investigating the critical role that plant physiology has played in different planetary feedbacks throughout time. A subperiod of the Carboniferous Period — the Pennsylvanian SubPeriod (323–299 million years ago) — is of particular interest because this time period featured low concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide that resulted from atypical rates of organic carbon sequestration. Using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), we image the water transport cells of an extinct genus of Carboniferous land plant that was characteristic to swamp ecosystems and closely related to modern horsetails: Calamites. Comparing the anatomy of Calamites and other extinct taxa to modern structures can provide important context for the examination of how terrestrial plants adapt to environmental stress. These high-resolution images further illustrate the water transport morphology of Calamites at a cellular level, revealing details about its subcellular composition that can advance understanding of their ecological roles during a time of extreme climate change.
- Item“It’s the Pits!”: Imaging of Lepidophloios and Lepidodendron, Arborescent Lycopsid Tracheids(2023) Culton, Ella; Wilson, JonathanThe arborescent lycopsids Lepidophloios and Lepidodendron dominated the Middle-Pennsylvanian period, emblematic of the adaptations and vascular structure which allowed the tree lycopsids to thrive until the climatic shift of the Westphalian, bringing rise to the tree ferns. This study analyzed Lepidophloios specimen (West Mineral, KS) and an Unknown specimen (United Kingdom) using acid maceration, light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Unexpectedly, the Lepidophloios specimen yielded many tracheid segments with circular border pits, rather than the anticipated scalariform pits. The Unknown specimen, which remains unidentified, yielded several promising fragments of scalariform pits. Under the scanning electron microscope only one scalariform pit was successfully identified and photographed. The tutorial and imagery developed from this study will contribute to future research of Lepidophloios and modelling the hydraulic conductance of arborescent lycopsids from the Carboniferous period.
- ItemReturning the People to the land: An Exploration of Black Americans’ relation to the natural world in the past and present(2023) Graham, Ebony; Young, TaliaThis paper explores the relationship of Black Americans toward natural outdoor spaces, what histories and dynamics have informed this relationship, and exploring ways in which this relationship influences our foodways and culinary cultures. In this paper, I explore Black folks’ relationship with land before colonization and enslavement, examples of the systematic disenfranchisement of Black people from the natural world by white people, and Black resilience to this systematic disenfranchisement by returning to the land and embracing creativity in the cultivation and cooking of homegrown diasporic ingredients.
- ItemValuing Sustainable Change: a case study of the integration of sustainable business practices in a small-scale juice bar(2020) Reese, Kaitlin; Dhillon, Carla MayWhile sustainable business development is one viable approach for mitigating environmental crises, there are many questions of how realistic this approach is and whether or not sustainable development is a substantial enough solution. One of the obstacles that the success of sustainable development faces is getting businesses to adopt and invest in sustainable practices. This paper examines how businesses can become more sustainable and how the effect of these changes can be measured. A comparative study of the existing certifications surrounding sustainable practices in businesses highlights the variety between the certifications, the intensity of the certification processes, and other details such as associated fees. The knowledge gained from our review of certification systems was applied to the case study of a small-scale juice bar, The Juice Laundry, which has taken steps towards integrating sustainable practices into their business model. Investigating the extent of The Juice Laundry's sustainable choices, as well as the way that they communicate their values and practices to consumers, revealed that the company is very transparent about their business model but does not typically produce data that explains the positive impact of their practices. Further research is warranted on how sustainable business endeavors collect and distribute information to consumers.