Biogeochemistry Student Research Projects

All FRI students present their research posters at campus events. Each cohort presents two posters, the first is a pre-proposal developed in the fall first-year Research Methods Seminar. The second poster represents results from the research proposed in the spring first-year course and then conducted in the fall second-year course. These posters are presented at a public session at the annual FRI Research Day in December. At that event, each student team has an opportunity to talk with other faculty and students about their research results.

Biogeochemistry Research Themes

  • Can sulfur oxidizing microbes in Green Lake (Fayetteville, NY) also oxidize arsenic and/or antimony?
  •  Will treating a constructed wetland on campus as a brackish or saltwater ecosystem instead of a freshwater ecosystem improve wetland functions including pollutant removal?
  •   An attempt to better constrain the environmental conditions under which some of the earliest (370 million years) forest ecosystems recorded in the rock record (Gilboa and Cairo, NY) developed.
  •   An attempt to better understand the role of cyanobacterial blooms in calcium carbonate whiting events in Green Lake (Fayetteville, NY).

Biogeochemistry is the application of multiple disciplines (including biology, geology, and chemistry) to study nutrient and elemental cycling through both the living and non-living parts (or spheres) of the environment (atmosphere, biosphere, and geosphere).

Cohort 10 2023-24 in Fall 2023, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Bacterial effects on whiting events
  • Effects of biodiversity on bioherm formation in Green and Round Lakes in Fayetteville, NY
  • Impact of salinity on the heavy metal concentration in wetland plants
  • Modeling the future through Southern Atlantic sediments
  • Road salts mobilize heavy metals from vehicles into wetlands

Cohort 9 2022-23 in Fall 2023, as second-year students (research results)

  • Analysis of bacteria in Green Lake versus Round Lake
  • Bridging past and future: The Miocene as a climate analog for future temperature projections
  • Examining effects of road salt runoff on microbial diversity
  • Examining remediation capabilities of Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Quantifying what the naked eye cannot see: composition of Green Lake bioherms
  • Using CT-scans to study paleoclimate of the Pleistocene

Cohort 9 2022-23 in Fall 2022, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Interpreting the paleoclimate of the Pliocene Epoch in Antarctica
  • The comparative analysis of purple sulfur bacteria in Green Lake, Fayetteville, NY 
  • The Mid-Miocene, our future hidden in the past: what fossils can tell us about modern climate change
  • The potential use of Pleurotus ostreatus in filtering out heavy metals from constructed wetlands
  • Unique characteristics of microbial bioherms in Green Lake, NY

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2022, as second-year students (research results)

  • Ocean productivity tied to warming events
  • Plant diversity in constructed wetlands on campus
  • Temperature data from Fayetteville Green Lake (FGL) shows potential mixing of permanently stratified layers
  • Using Lemna minor to remediate Pb pollution
  • Reconstructing paleoclimate from CT scans of sediment cores

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2021, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Evidence for an increase in nanoplankton biodiversity during the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO)
  • Exploring the ecological resilience of Fayetteville Green Lake (FGL)
  • Innovative use of CT scans to reconstruct historic climate trends
  • Investigating effects of road salts on microorganism populations in constructed wetlands
  • Utilizing citizen engagement to study the seasonal impacts on plants, salinity, and hydrology in constructed wetland

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2021, as second-year students (research results)

  • Ba/Al ratios indicate increased productivity near the Tasman Front during the Mid-Miocene
  • Calculating K and Fe concentrations in ocean cores from prexisting XRF data for future climate analysis
  • Correlating structure and porosity of thrombolitc bioherms at Fayetteville Green Lake
  • First high resolution data from understudied Round Lake shows minor differences in ion concentrations at varying depths when compared to Green Lake 
  • Monitoring metal cycling through constructed wetlands at Binghamton University

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2020, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Comparing the water chemistry profile of round lake to the nearby, often-studied Green Lake
  • How is Fayetteville Green Lake (FGL) similar to Proterozoic Era oceans?
  • Improving nitrogen removal efficiency in constructed wetlands
  • Nitrogen and carbon climate proxies in Miocene Foraminifera
  • Using data proxies to determine climate change in the Miocene Period

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2020, as second-year students (research results)

  • Assessing the difference between total concentration and bioavailable levels of zinc in natural soils and greenhouse plant experiments
  • Identifying structural and chemical trends within Green Lake microbialites
  • Monitoring the water chemistry and algal growth in Binghamton University’s wetlands
  • The effects of road salt on soil denitrifying bacteria
  • Understanding the paleoenvironment of earth’s oldest forest in Cairo, NY

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2019, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Determining the paleoenvironment of Earth's oldest forest
  • Effects of road salt on soil microbe communities
  • Mapping the past paleoclimate trends and geological formations in the Binghamton Nature Preserve
  • The impact of increasing salinity from road salt runoff on wetland ecosystems
  • Using microbialites to reconstruct climate history

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2019, as second-year students (research results)

  • Calcium Carbonate Whiting Events: Biological or Geological Origin?
  • Determining the Environmental Conditions of the Cairo Forest, the Oldest in the Fossil Record
  • Phytoremediation Capabilities of Salix integra in a Constructed Wetland
  • The Challenges of Growing Anaerobic Sulfur Bacteria From Green Lake

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2018, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Determining the Environmental Conditions of the Gilboa Forest: The Earliest Example of a Forest Ecosystem in the Fossil Record
  • Effects of Excess Salt on Plant Pollution Filtration in Constructed Wetlands
  • Exploring how Purple and Green Sulfur Bacteria Respiration from a Meromictic Lake May Affect Arsenics and Antimony Toxicity
  • Efects of Salinity and pH on Microbial Respiration of Arsenic and Antimony in Urban Wetlands
  • Whiting Events: Biological, Geological, or Both?

Cohort 4  2017-18 in Fall 2018, as second-year students (research results)

  • Compositional analysis of Green Lake bioherms
  • Determining the Effectiveness of Lichens as Environmental Monitors
  • Hydrogeochemical Analysis and Closed System Modeling of Glacier Lake for the Verification of Meromixis
  • Oxidation of Sulfur, Arsenic, and Antimony by Purple Sulfur Bacteria
  • The Effects of Deicers on Denitrification Rates

Cohort 4 2017-18 in Fall 2017, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Urban Land Practices Disrupt the Nitrogen Cycle
  • Understanding Seasonal Changes in Bacterial Behavior and Biotic Calcite Precipitation
  • Exploring the Use of Lichens to Monitor the Environment
  • Sulfur Oxidation by Purple Bacteria in Green Lake State Park
  • Bacteria, Bioherms, and Green Lake

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2017, as second-year students (research results)

  • Common Antibiotic Sulfamethoxazole Disrupts Denitrification in Stream Sediment Microcosms
  • Determining the Organic and Inorganic Nature of Layers in Petrified Sea Gardens Stromatolites
  • Role of Particle Size on Metal Distribution in Lake Lieberman
  • A Geochemical Analysis and Calcite Saturation Modeling of Meromictic Green Lake in Fayetteville, NY
  • Microbial Cycling of Arsenic and Antimony in Contaminated and Pristine Environments

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2016, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Effects of different particle sizes of metal pollutants in watersheds
  • Formation of 500Ma stromatolites at Petrified Sea Gardens
  • How Phenotypic Differences Affect Metal Metabolism in Lichen Species
  • Effects of antibiotics on nitrogen cycling
  • Biochemistry of meromictic Green Lake
  • Microbial respiration of arsenic and antimony