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Emily Davenport,
NSF Graduate Fellow

NSF GK-12 Project: Western Washington University
Catalysts for Reform
URL: http://gk12.wwu.edu

Thesis Title: Effects of Benthic Community Abundance on Phosphate Flux in the Bering Sea

College/University: Western Washington University

Research Advisor: David Shull

Teacher Partner: Megan Vigre

Degree Sought  
Masters of Science

University Department and/or Lab  
Western Washington University

Research Focus 
The effects of benthic organisms on the flux of phosphate out of the Bering Sea sediments

Description of Research
My research will focus primarily on how the abundance of benthic organisms affects the flux of phosphate out of the sediments in the Bering Sea .  The Bering Sea  contains one of the most productive fishing industries in the United States , and is fueled mainly by primary production from phytoplankton.  This region is feeling the effects of global climate change, mainly through earlier sea ice melt.  This is directly impacting phytoplankton populations, which fuel the Bering Sea ecosystem.  My research will look at how global climate change is impacting the benthic communities in the Bering Sea , which are tightly coupled to primary productivity.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience
One example of incorporating my research into my GK-12 experience is two fold.  One, I am planning a sustainable curriculum project that will incorporate education about global climate change into the classroom (we have already begun the preliminaries on this).  Two, I will be leaving in April for a month to be in the Bering Sea, and while I am gone, there will be an interactive website set up for all my kids to communicate with me while I'm gone.  They'll get to learn more about what we're doing and why we're doing it.  They will get to see first hand what it's like to do field research and what the Bering Sea ecosystem is like, a place many of them may not otherwise get the chance to learn about.

Profile date: March 2007
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