James Cotner, Trinity Hamilton
Miles Lawson, Secondary Curriculum and Gifted and Talented Coordinator Independent School District 197
Lakes are important regulators of the global climate system, yet we still lack a mechanistic understanding of the controls of carbon sequestration within lake systems. Specifically, the role of freshwater bacteria in producing hard to degrade organic molecules and how this process is being impacted by increased nutrient pollution is understudied.
Using a community-engaged research framework, we will test how carbon and phosphorus concentrations impact the production and composition of DOM produced by aquatic bacteria by working with a local High School partner to build an authentic research partnership with students. We will work with students through both a classroom-based research project model (fall) as well as a smaller number of students through an intensive semester-long research internship program (spring). Together, we will advance our understanding of aquatic carbon burial by determining how microbial interactions alter DOM structure and degradation under differing nutrient regimes at small (e.g., co-culture ) and large (e.g., natural community) scales.
We anticipate producing 3 primary research products: a peer reviewed manuscript describing the impact of nutrients on microbial community structure and DOM production; a peer reviewed educational research paper on the impact of authentic research experiences on the development of science identity in High School students; and a set of scaffolded curricular materials aligned to the new Minnesota State Science standards.