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Creek Geeks: Researchers, the energy industry and aquatic ecosystems

Since 2011, the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES) has supported more than 60 academic researchers in energy and the environment and over 75 student researchers at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, the University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a team of graduate researchers at Marshall University, who call themselves the “Creek Geeks.”

Research Team “The Creek Geeks”

Advised by Mindy Armstead, an associate professor of integrated science and technology at Marshall who also has many years’ experience in the energy sector, the Creek Geeks conduct ongoing evaluations of the effects of watershed disturbance on aquatic ecosystems. Although one main use of their research is to alert the energy industry to potentials for stream or watershed disruption, the Creek Geeks also indicate their research is useful for individual landowners or other industries such as construction. To evaluate how changes may effect a stream, for example, the Creek Geeks locate an undisturbed “creek” and evaluate its health. They then create a small disturbance upstream on this same creek, measure the changes and evaluate those changes as positive, negative, neutral, etc.

At the upcoming ARIES Environmental Considerations in Energy Production Conference (ECEP) Sunday, September 20 – Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA, the Creek Geeks will present peer-reviewed research on watershed disturbance and also on the development of culturing methods for native Mayfly Taxa for use in laboratory toxicity testing.

At the ECEP, energy and environmental researchers from all of ARIES’s supported universities will present peer-reviewed research on topics ranging from Carbon Management to Shale Gas and the Environment to the Health Impacts of Energy Development.

Presentations by Carl Carlson, Lee Fuller, Gary Slagel and Many More

In addition to ARIES’s affiliated researchers, additional presentations include Carl Carlson of Range Resources on Technical Challenges and Shale Gas Regulation, Lee Fuller of the IPAA on Shale Gas and Science, Gary Slagel of Steptoe and Johnson on Environmental Challenges in Oil and Gas, and many more.

The full ECEP conference agenda and registration details are available at http://www.ariesvents.org.

Learn more about the Creek Geeks in this feature video:


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