Smith Mountain Lake Water Quality Program
Each summer, students from Ferrum College work in collaboration with volunteers from
the Smith Mountain Lake Association in an ongoing effort to monitor the water quality
at Smith Mountain Lake. Dr. David Johnson and Dr. Carolyn Thomas lead this program.
Read the Smith Mountain Eagle's article about the 2013 Roanoke River Conference here. The event included a presentation by Dr. Thomas, “Smith Mountain Lake and Climate Change: Can we measure
Appalachian Labs Water Quality Project
Dr. David Johnson, Dr. Bob Pohlad, and Dr. Carolyn Thomas participate in this ongoing
effort with scientists at Maryland's Appalachian Labs to study the effect of coal
mining on mountain streams. Students have many opportunities to participate in this
research throughout the year.
Dr. Jason Powell has research interests involving the study of early transition-metal
oxoanions (polyoxometalates). Students with at least a general chemistry background
have the opportunity to work on projects in the synthesis of these compounds and in
studying their properties in a variety of applications ranging from corrosion protection
and chemical sensors to catalysis and molecular electronics.
Logging impacts on wildlife on non-industrial private forestlands in Virginia
A study of the abundance, species richness, and species composition of vertebrate
wildlife on logged and unlogged woodlots in Franklin, Patrick and Henry Counties of
Virginia has been ongoing since 2003. The immediate goal is to determine how wildlife
responds to different intensities of logging in these forests stands. The ultimate
goal is to provide foresters, loggers, and landowners with information of wildlife
responses to logging so that they can make informed decisions about wildlife when
harvesting their lands.
Response of wildlife to different levels of large woody debris
A manipulative study of woody debris is attempting to determine the relative importance
of woody debris to small mammals, herpetofauna, and invertebrate species in southwestern
Virginia pine-hardwood forests. An experiment consisting of a series of replicated
blocks containing treatments with no woody debris manipulation, woody debris removal,
or woody debris additions was installed in 2004. Each treatment plot has a drift fence
and pitfall trap array in its center that is used to monitor wildlife populations.
Small mammal trapping is also being conducted in these plots.
Alternative control treatments for tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Different herbicide treatments including stem applications and cut stump treatments
at different formulations and in different seasons are being tested to determine the
relative efficacy of treatments for the control of this invasive species.
This is only a small sampling of current projects in the School of Natural Sciences
and Mathematics. Please contact the department for more information.