This guided research project explores the chemistry and impact of phosphorous on a fresh water system of lakes connected by a river in south-central Wisconsin. Students begin this project by comparing the detection limits, matrix effects, and linearity of standard curves of two different spectrophotometric methods for measuring phosphorus. Once the method of choice is validated, students work in groups to design and carry out experiments to explore the chemistry of phosphorus and its impact on the environment. They learn to use some of the tools necessary for water quality analysis including a Secchi disk and an Ekman dredge. Visible spectroscopy serves as the primary vehicle for learning, although the research projects sometimes incorporate ICP-AES, HPLC, and ISE measurements if students take their research in that direction.
- Dr. Pamela Doolittle (University of Wisconsin-Madison): email@example.com