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Clarkson University Grad Student Honored for Wetlands Research

Clarkson University graduate student Kinga Stryszowska has been awarded the very first New York State Wetlands Forum Research Grant for her study of freshwater wetlands near Massena, N.Y., along the St. Lawrence River.

Kinga StryszowskaA Ph.D. student working with Biology Professor Tom Langen in Clarkson's Environmental Science & Engineering Program, Stryszowska was awarded $500 for her research.

In 2012 and 2013, she surveyed 27 wetland sites, evaluating ecological and water quality indicators within the Massena area of concern (AOC), which has suffered environmental stress from industry. These results were compared to corresponding indicators in reference wetlands.

“Overall, I concluded that wetlands in the Massena AOC support a high diversity of animal and plant species, as well as good water quality, as compared to the reference location,” said Stryszowska. “I've been working with wetlands since 2006 when I was pursuing my master's degree at the University of New Haven. My family lives in Long Lake now, so I was happy to be able come to Clarkson and do this research.”

“Her work combines important applied research with general research on wetlands,” said Langen. “She looked at aquatic plants, water quality, and aquatic animals -- all indicators of health. Her findings, along with research by previous students, will help determine whether recovery has occurred.”

In recognition of her work, the New York State Wetlands Forum asked Stryszowska to give a talk to interested representatives from state and federal agencies, researchers, students and private contractors.

Stryszowska's research opens the door for a larger project to progress, notes Biology Professor Michael Twiss. A limnologist, or someone who studies bodies of fresh water, he'll be assisting with a study of water quality in natural wetlands vs. those of restored wetlands as part of a two-year University of Michigan Water Center Project.

“We'll look at St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties. There are a lot of wetland restoration projects around, and we want to make sure the restorations are cost effective. The St. Lawrence River Valley is a good place to do our work and it's relevant to the rest of the system,” Twiss says.

As for Stryszowska, her next step is a study of the threatened Blanding’s turtle in northern New York.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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