Table of Contents


General Information ……………………1
Map ……………………………………………2  
Presentations……………………….….….3
Posters………………………………………..6

2011 Program

Sigma Xi
1st Annual Meeting of the Northshore Chapter
Sigma Xi is an international research society supporting outstanding endeavors in all areas of science and engineering. With more than 60,000 members in over 100 countries, Sigma Xi sponsors projects and collaborations around the world through grant awards, publications, and program development.  The Northshore Chapter represents members from Endicott College, Gordon College, Salem State University and the surrounding communities.

February 26, 2011
Rose Performance Hall
Endicott College
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA  01915



President
Anne-Marie Scholer, Ed. D.
Biology, Endicott College
1-978-232-2188
ascholer@endicott.edu

Vice President
Gregory S. Keller, Ph.D.

Biology, Gordon College
978-867-4852
greg.keller@gordon.edu

Treasurer
Christopher Tripler, Ph.D.
Biology, Endicott College
978-232-2377
ctripler@endicott.edu

Secretary
Brad Hubeny, Ph.D.
Geological Sciences
Salem State University
978-542-6994
bhubeny@salemstate.edu

Officers at Large
Lindley Hanson Ph.D.
Geological Sciences
Salem State University
978-542-6701
lhanson@salemstate.edu

Suzanne Phillips, Ph.D.
Psychology Gordon College
978-867-4841
suzanne.phillips@gordon.edu


 



Program cover designed by Lauren Fall


(Endicot College Campus Map)


Oral Presentations

Phylogeographic analysis reveals a deep lineage split within North Atlantic Littorina saxatilis. Meredith M.Doellman1, 2, Geoffrey C.Trussell2, John W.Grahame3 and Steve V.Vollmer2, 1Science Department, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915, 2Marine Science Center, Northeastern University, Nahant, MA 01908, 3Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.    Phylogeographic studies provide critical insight into the evolutionary histories of model organisms; yet, to date, range-wide data are lacking for the rough periwinkle Littorina saxatilis, a classic example of marine sympatric speciation. Here we use a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence data to demonstrate that L. saxatilis is not monophyletic, but is composed of two distinct mtDNA lineages (I and II) that are shared with its sister-species L. arcana and L. compressa. Bayesian coalescent dating and phylogeographic patterns indicate that both L. saxatilis lineages (I and II) originated in the northeastern Atlantic, around the British Isles, approximately 0.64 Ma. Both lineages are now distributed broadly across the eastern, central, and western north Atlantic, and show strong phylogeographic structure among regions. The Iberian Peninsula is genetically distinct, suggesting prolonged isolation from northeastern Atlantic populations. Western Atlantic populations of L. saxatilis Lineages I and II both predate the last glacial maximum and have been isolated from eastern Atlantic populations since that time. The existence of these two distinct mtDNA lineages in L. saxatilis, that are broadly distributed across its trans-Atlantic range, further complicates observed patterns of repeated incipient ecological speciation in L. saxatilis, because hypothesized sympatric origins of distinct ecotype pairs on northeastern Atlantic shores may be confounded by admixture of divergent lineages.

The effects of rejection on religious belief.  J.Gerber, Department of Psychology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.   Recent research into uncontrollable events suggests that religious feelings are a way of coping with uncertainty. In short, those who feel no control tend to believe in a God who controls the world. We investigated this in the context of interpersonal rejection. Interpersonal rejection is known to lower feelings of control, and hence might increase belief in a controlling God. Across two studies, undergraduates either experienced rejection (Study 1) or wrote about a time they  were rejected, or had an uncontrollable positive or negative event (Study 2). Our results did not replicate original findings. Instead, we found an order effect that might potentially shed light on the original findings of Kay et al. This suggested that the knee-jerk reaction to uncontrollable negative events is decreased belief in God. Positive uncontrollable events may show a small correlation with belief in a controlling God.

The Effects of Three Levels of Human-Induced Forest Fragmentation on Passerine Birds in Essex County, Massachusetts.  J. Harris and G.S. Keller, Department of Biology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.   The creation of forest edge through human-induced fragmentation has been a widely researched topic in landscape ecology.  However, little work has been done to determine if passerine birds respond similarly to all types of human-induced fragmentation.  I studied bird communities in Essex County, Massachusetts to determine if three types of human-induced fragmentation had different affects on richness and abundance.  The three levels of fragmentation that were tested were fields, residential areas (mowed grass), and roads.  I found that both richness (p=0.0002) and abundance (p=0.045) were significantly greater at field sites in comparison to road sites. Only one target species, Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), showed significance toward field sites (p=0.005). However, Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis), did show significance toward residential sites (p=0.000).  No species showed a preference toward road sites, and only Black-capped Chickadees showed a significant preference to a landscape characteristic (amount of natural edge).  This may show, in fact, that edge type is more important for songbird communities than other landscape level metrics.

Holocene Stratigraphy and Climate History of Sluice Pond, MA, Hubeny, J. Bradford1, McCarthy, Francine M.G.2, Lewis, Jonathan3, Cantwell, Mark4, Morissette Cameron1, Crispo, Mary Lynne1, and Zanatta, Ryan2, (1) Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 01970, (2) Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave, St Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, (3) Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Lous, MO 63130, (4) Atlantic Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882.    Recent work demonstrates the dynamic nature of climate variability during the Holocene Epoch. Here, we investigate the seismic- and litho-stratigraphy of Sluice Pond, MA and reconstruct local climatic conditions. We collected sub-bottom profile data and two dated sediment cores (deep basin and margin locations) between 2007-10.   The lower portion of the basin core reveals a time of cold/dry climate from ca. 11,500 - 8,000 cal BP. Evidence includes Picea and Pinus pollen zones, geophysical reflectors that pinch out at depths <18m, generally low organic matter preservation, and a lack of sedimentation in the margin core. An increase in regional temperature/moisture is apparent in sediments younger than 8,000 cal BP. Pollen data indicate the establishment of a mixed forest ecosystem. Organic matter deposition reaches a maximum in the basin core, and the initiation of gyttja deposition in the margin sediment core at 7,800 cal BP confirms a lake level increase.  A warm/dry climate is suggested from ca. 5,000 – 3,500 cal BP. This interval has been identified as the Tsuga minimum zone. During this time interval, the marginal core contains an abundance of macrophyte remains, suggesting a decrease in lake level to account for the macrophyte’s affinity for the photic zone. The warm/dry period had a delayed trigger on productivity as organic matter deposition first decreased and then increased along with an increase in thecamoebian abundance at ca. 4,000 cal BP. Younger sediments suggest unstressed, organic-rich conditions until the most recent sediments. The upper-most sediments record anthropogenic disturbance with increases in non-arboreal and Betula pollen, the stress-tolerant thecamoebian Difflugia protaeiformis, and a large increase in δ15N.  The climate variability interpreted from the sediments of Sluice Pond is consistent with other studies from New England, suggesting regional climatic forcings.

Landscape composition effects on small mammal richness and abundance in northern Massachusetts. E.S Lindemann, J.P. Harris and G.S. Keller, Department of Biology, Gordon College, Wenham MA 01984.    In southern New England forests, Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mice), Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mice), and Clethrionomys gapperi (red-backed voles) are essential to food-web interactions and seed dispersal for overall ecosystem health.  This region has been exposed to extensive fragmentation due to residential and agricultural development, resulting in a considerable amount of edge creation, in addition to natural landscape heterogeneity.  Yet limited research has been conducted relating species abundance to the different types of edge habitat in this region.  We predicted that small-mammal richness, total abundance, and abundance of Peromyscus maniculatus, Peromyscus leucopus, and Clethrionomys gapperi would be affected by edge sites; specifically, we expected that human-edge sites would have reduced abundance compared to natural edges and interior forest habitat. In order to test this hypothesis, we selected twelve sites total with four of each edge type. We used Sherman live traps to survey small-mammal populations. We baited 75 traps for 4 nights at 12 sites for two trapping seasons, resulting in 7200 total trap nights. Abundance of Clethrionomys gapperi and Peromyscus leucopus were higher at natural edge sites than at human edge.  Peromyscus maniculatus appears not to discriminate between human or natural edges and interior forest.

Family Relationships as Predictors of Faith and Morality. Ranck, L.1, Ross, R.1, Clasby, F.1, Ekstrom, T.1, van Hammersveld, M.1, Stone, L.1, Smith, L.1, Leonard, K. C.2, & Cook, K. V.1.   1Department of Psychology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA.  2Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts—Lowell, Lowell, MA.    Integrating the work of earlier theorists, we hypothesized that parental attachment and faith support predicted moral identity, moral centrality (or how central morality is in identity), and religious identity, and religious identity predicted morality.  Surveys were administered to 489 Christian college graduates, and two morality measures, to a subsample of 60 randomly-selected participants (Moral Identity, Moral Centrality).  Religiosity measures included the I-E Scale--Revised, Quest Scale, Religious Identity Scale, and Christian Orthodoxy Scale. Parental attachments and faith support were assessed by two measures: the IPPA and the PFS-P. Parent measures were correlated with some religiosity measures but not the morality measures. Father Attachment predicted Christian Orthodoxy, and Parental Faith Support was negatively correlated with Quest (-.38) but no other religiosity measures. Religiosity predicted morality: Christian Orthodoxy positively predicted Moral Centrality (β = .33), and Religious Identity was positively correlated with Moral Identity (.30) but negatively with Moral Centrality (-.29). We propose, as one possible model for the emergence of moral identity, that when strong religiosity is present, individuals may structure their identity around religiosity and its frequently related moral messages. It is unclear why parental attachments did not predict to moral identity and centrality, but we feel the interrelationships among these and religiosity factors warrant further study.

Using Micro-Tools to Study Individual Cells.  C. M. Story, Department of Biology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.   In 2006, a novel method for analyzing single cells within a large population was described in a publication in Nature Biotechnology. In the paper, the authors described how they could isolate single cells from each other, and measure the amount of antibody secreted from these single cells, as well as the fine specificity of the secreted antibody, from a mixed population of cells. The key to this method is the use of a silicone rubber microwell device, which isolates single cells into 50 or 100 micron sized wells. The separated cells then secrete protein that is quite literally printed onto a standard glass microscope slide. This slide is subsequently treated much like a standard protein array; for example, it may be probed with fluorescent ligands that specifically bind to the immobilized protein “spots” on the slide. This method has proven useful for isolating monoclonal antibodies of interest, and can be used to compare the affinity of clones obtained, or analyze the diversity within a population of clonal cells. Examples of the results obtained with the system will be shown and discussed, and the potential for using this microengraving technology with undergraduates at Gordon College will be described.

Chemistry of FeIII-TAML Systems. Dwight Tshudy1, Andrew Worth1, Kristen Entwistle1, Ken Preedom1, Terry Collins2, Longzhu Shen2, 1Department of Chemistry, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984, 2Institute for Green Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.   Iron-TAML (Tetra-Amido Macrocyclic Ligands) are a family of green oxidation catalysts that activate hydrogen peroxide. They have the ability to degrade numerous persistent pollutants that are of environmental concern. Degradation of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) is just one example of where TAML may be of use. Iron-TAML systems can also be used for synthesis. They have the ability to convert a methyl amine moiety to a ketone.  Polymerization of phenolic compounds as monomers is another mechanism. This talk will highlight some of the applications using Iron-TAML and the work being done at Gordon College.

Lunch will be at the Callahan Student Center.

 

Posters

Determination of Aluminum Concentrations in Vernal Pool Water by Ultra-Violet/Visible Spectrophotometry.  R. Ainslie and D. Tshudy, Department of Chemistry, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.   Vernal pools are bodies of fresh water that exist in a wooded context and fully dry nearly every summer. These pools contain several obligate amphibian species that rely on the pools for reproduction.  However, several water quality factors may affect their reproductive efforts. Two of these water quality factors are pH and dissolved aluminum.  Dissolved aluminum concentration can be negatively correlated with pH, and can have effects on amphibian populations ranging from sub-lethal to lethal. The dissolved aluminum concentrations from twenty-one vernal pools located on the North Shore of Massachusetts were measured using spectrophotometry.  The absorbance of an eriochrome cyanine R dye/aluminum complex is being used to determine the levels of aluminum through development of a standard solution calibration curve. Aluminum concentrations ranged from 0.008 to  0.115 μg/mL.

Reduced neuritic processes in mouse cortical neurons over-expressing the amino-terminus of amyloid precursor protein. A. D. Albers1, E. G. Benz2, and M. W. Albers2, Department of Psychology, Endicott College, Beverly MA, 019151, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 021292.   The amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its cleavage products play a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.  However, the physiological actions of APP and its cleavage products remain poorly understood.  APP is cleaved by beta-secretase to shed an ectodomain, while the remaining piece is cleaved by gamma-secretase to release the A-beta peptide and the APP intracellular domain (AICD). Recently, Nikolev, et al. (Nature 457: 981-990, 2009) showed that the ectodomain of APP is then cleaved by an unknown protease to produce the N-terminus of APP (N-APP).  N-APP causes axon degeneration by binding to death receptor 6 (DR6) and activating caspase 6 in spinal cord neurons in vitro.  Examination of a knockout of DR6 revealed phenotypes consistent with axon pruning defects in the superior colliculus and at the neuromuscular junction in vivo.  Since APP is expressed throughout the brain, we asked whether APP has similar actions in neurons derived from the telencephalon.  Transfection of a vector expressing NAPP-ires-GFP into cortical neurons in vitro dramatically reduces the number of processes in neurons that express N-APP compared to transfecting the same vector making GFP alone.  The anatomical phenotype seen in these cells may parallel the phenotypes described in spinal cord neurons in vitro by Nikolev, et al.  Further characterization of the effects of N-APP in a cortical neuron population may provide insight into its physiological function and its potential role in Alzheimer’s disease.


MyD88 and TRIF contribute to inflammatory mediator production in response to Porphyromonas gingivalis.  Lauren Baryski1, Nasi Huang2, Yazdani B. Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb2, and Frank C. Gibson III2.  1Endicott College, School of Arts and Sciences, 376 Hale Street, Beverly, MA 01915, and 2Boston University Medical Center, Section of Infectious Diseases, 650 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118.   The bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is associated with periodontal disease, a common chronic inflammatory disease of the gums that in severe cases leads to tooth loss.  Immune cells detect pathogen associated molecular patterns such as bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using pathogen recognition receptors, including toll-like receptors (TLRs).  TLR engagement initiates intracellular signaling cascades governed in part by the adaptor molecules MyD88 and TRIF, which culminate with transcriptional factor activation and expression of genes encoding inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α.  Recent studies support roles for TLRs in the host inflammatory response to P. gingivalis; however, the accompanying adaptor molecule usage is poorly understood.  Employing an in vitro mouse macrophage (MĮ) challenge model, we observed elevated TNF-α and nitrite (a proxy for nitric oxide) secretion from MĮ of wild type (WT) C57BL-6 mice cultured with P. gingivalis.  Purified P. gingivalis LPS species also stimulated TNF-α and nitrite production from WT MĮ, albeit to different levels based on LPS structure.  MĮ from mice lacking MyD88 secreted less TNF-α and nitrite than WT MĮ to P. gingivalis or its LPS species.  MĮ from LPS2 mice (deficient in TRIF signaling) also contributed to the P. gingivalis-elicited less TNF-α and nitrite response; however, these profiles were different than that of MyD88-deficient mouse MĮ.  These preliminary studies support that MyD88 and TRIF participate in the host inflammatory responses to the oral pathogen P. gingivalis.

Tracing Dissolved Chloride from Road Salt Application using Specific Conductance in the Southern Region of the Nashua River Watershed, MA.    Bull, Nick, Geological Sciences, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 01970, and Allen, Douglas, Geological Sciences, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA 01970.    Previous studies have shown correlations between the applications of road salt in winter months, with elevated specific conductivity values in streams and lakes.  Elevated salt concentrations have been linked to impacting aquatic biota, causing nutrient depletion in soils, and damaging road infrastructure.  Historical USGS gauging station data for several watersheds within Massachusetts indicate a strong positive correlation between specific conductance and dissolved chloride concentration with an R² value of 0.9528.  This correlation allows for the determination of dissolved chloride concentrations from measured specific conductivity values. Gauging station sites within Massachusetts show that increases in dissolved chloride concentrations have occurred for decades. Increases are likely due to factors such as increased road density for new communities necessitating increases of salt applied as well as the fact dissolved chloride from road salt is highly soluble and can steadily increase in the groundwater system for a long time.
The focus of this study is on three rivers, five ponds, and a lake in the southern region of the Nashua River watershed, within Worcester County, MA.  Sample locations in forested areas with low road density yield the lowest specific conductance that are as low as 31 ĶS for rivers and 25 ĶS for ponds.  The low specific conductivity from the forested areas indicates background concentrations that have not been impacted by road salt applications.  Sites located adjacent to high priority salting roads, especially highways I-190 and Rt-2, yield the highest specific conductance values that are as high as 1070 ĶS for rivers and 2517 ĶS for ponds.  Differences in specific conductivity values relative to their road locations suggests that dissolved chloride from salting in the winter is not being washed away after each salting season, but is residing in groundwater and entering surface waters through baseflow even when no salt is actively applied.


Cytotoxicity of a Ceramics-Based Dental Biomaterial: Using Hydroxyapatite to Create a Biocompatible Restorative Material for Dental Fills. S. I. Butler and J. D. Kaufman, Department of Biology, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915.    This study investigates the mechanical and physical characteristics of a hydroxyapatite ceramics-based composite and evaluates the cytotoxicity for 3T3 mouse fibroblast cells (ATCC, Manassas, VA) exposed to a composite containing Bisphenol-A glycidyl methacrylate (BisGMA) and Triethylene-glycol Dimethacrylate (TEGDMA). Different cytotoxic components of resinous materials have been shown to be released and diffuse across dentinal tubules to reach the pulpal space. Released monomers cause chemical damage to cultured cells. An ideal dental restorative material should be biocompatible, have little interaction with body tissues and fluids, be nontoxic, and have low allergic potential. A commercially available dental restorative will be used as the light cured polymer base.  The polymer will be cured with a LED dental curing lamp for 20s with 420-480nm near blue light.  Hydroxyapatite mineral crystals are naturally found in dentin, in bone, calcified tendon, and cementum. With increasing concentrations of hydroxyapatite, 3T3 cells will be cultured and exposed to the composite and hydroxyapatite mixture. Wells in a 96-well plate will be coated with the polymer only and the polymer with several concentrations of hydroxyapatite and compared to uncoated wells. After incubation with the composites, cell viability will be tested using Alamar Blue.  The relative cytotoxicity of the composite and composite/hydroxyapatite mixture will be compared.   

Carbon Dioxide Solubility Modeling under Geologic Sequestration Conditions. Kristin Byrne and Douglass E. Allen, Department of Geologic Sciences, Salem State University, Salem, MA 01970.    Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas that has steadily increased in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. The burning of fossil fuels has largely contributed to this increase, which has affected the natural greenhouse effect of the earth causing global climate change. Organizations worldwide have been researching different methods of mitigating atmospheric carbon dioxide release to the atmosphere in order to stabilize the atmospheric concentration. One of the most promising methods proposed is carbon sequestration in geologic formations, where supercritical carbon dioxide is pumped deep underground and sealed there under impermeable cap rocks. In order to assure that the capacity of the formation is not exceeded, the amount of supercritical carbon dioxide a formation can hold through free-phase and solubility trapping must be predicted accurately. One of the most important variables needed to predict the capacity of the geologic formations to trap carbon dioxide is the concentration of carbon dioxide in the basinal brines. There are many models available that can be used to predict this value. However, the elevated pressures, temperatures and salinities encountered in most geologic formations make this estimate difficult. Here we test three commonly used models by comparing model results to actual experimental data under a range of conditions suitable for geologic sequestration. The models chosen for testing represent a range of computational difficulties. One model is a highly complicated iterative model. The second model is simpler than the first and is correlation based. The third model is an ultra simple model with four adjustable parameters. Results of this study suggest that the iterative model is consistently more accurate, followed by the combination model, and then by the ultra simple model, although all three models seem to fall within an acceptable accuracy range under most sets of conditions.

Molecular characterization of the vascular hematopoietic niche in the skate, Leucoraja erinacea. Christopher Cacciatore and Bram Lutton, Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915.    The bone marrow niche serves as a three-dimensional “facility” wherein cellular and molecular crosstalk regulates the balance between self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC).  For decades, research investigating the bone marrow niche has characterized the heterogeneous cellular and vascular environment in which HSPC reside.  Much effort using well-defined murine and zebrafish models has shown that a comprehensive understanding of both the anatomical and functional dimensions of this environment is necessary to fully elucidate stem cell activities.  The model presented in these studies offers a novel perspective because the cartilaginous fishes (including the sharks, skates and rays) do not possess bone, and therefore lack the endosteal (i.e., bone cell) component of the mammalian bone marrow niche.  Importantly, recent studies have demonstrated that the mammalian bone marrow niche is composed of both an endosteal component and a vascular component, apparently important for different stem cell activities.  Thus, self-renewing stem cells are linked directly to the endosteal cells in mammals, while the vascular niche also plays a fundamental, though enigmatic, role in stem cell production.  Thus, we hypothesize that the vascular hematopoietic niche of chondrichthyans will shed light upon information about mammalian bone marrow, which is fundamental in clinical bone marrow transplantation.  In these ongoing studies, bioinformatics and molecular methods are being utilized to generate information about gene expression involved in the production of molecules with critical functions in the vascular hematopoietic niche of the skate, Leucoraja erinacea.  Investigation of this unique model could aid in our understanding of the mechanisms behind both normal physiology and pathophysiologies associated with hematopoiesis and angiogenesis, as well as numerous activities of the immune system.

Multi-proxy Analysis of Organic Matter Sedimentation in Three Maine Lakes    Crispo, Mary Lynne1, Hubaney, J. Bradford1, Cantwell, Mark2, Hammond, Bradford1, and Morisette, Cam1, (1) Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 01970, (2) Atlantic Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882    The dynamics of organic matter (OM) deposition in lakes are influenced by environmental, climatic and anthropogenic factors and a more thorough understanding of modern sedimentation can assist in the interpretation of sediment cores. The goal of this study is to quantify seasonal OM deposition in three Maine lakes. In July 2009, funnel-type sediment traps were deployed in the deep holes of Conroy Lake (CL), Lobster Lake (LL), and Tea Pond (TP), at depths of 33.5m, 32.3m, and 32.9m, respectively. Sediment traps were recovered in July 2010 and samples were frozen using dry ice in the field to preserve the OM collected. Each trap was sub-sampled at a resolution of 0.5cm in the lab and subsequently dried at low temperature. After weighing, dry subsamples were logged for volume magnetic susceptibility. Acidified subsamples were analyzed for stable carbon isotopic ratios (δ13C), stable nitrogen isotopic ratios (δ15N), and C/N ratios using a continuous flow elemental analysis/isotope ratio mass spectrometer.
The annual mass accumulation rate (MAR) of sediment from each lake was determined: CL: 7.63mg/cm2 yr, TP: 5.23mg/cm2yr and LL: 23.0mg/cm2yr of sediment accumulation. Organic Carbon (OC) MAR’s were calculated as 1.17 mg/cm2yr at CL and 1.02mg/cm2yr at TP. Analyses of δ13C vs. C/N data at CL and TP suggest a mix of aquatic and C3 land plant organic matter sources. δ15N for CL has a mean value of 6.26 which is much higher than TP (4.05š) and LL (4.48š). The heavier values found at CL suggest higher anthropogenic effects due to human and/or animal waste from the watershed.
Seasonal variability is also noted within each record. For instance, all three lakes show seasonal variability in organic matter characteristics, likely attributed to seasonal changes in productivity. In addition, LL exhibits a shift between winter and spring in δ15N and %N values suggesting that the flooding of the western branch of the Penobscot River during the spring season loaded nutrients into the system causing an increased productivity rate.

Distribution of Heavy Metals in Estuarine Sediment Cores from Salem Sound, MA.
A. Danikas and D. Allen, Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University,
Salem, MA 01970.
   Salem Sound located in Salem, MA is a well-mixed, mesotidal, and tidally dominated estuary with average water depths of 9.15 m.  The highly urbanized and industrialized estuary has a long history of contamination which has resulted in polluted sediments mainly associated with the most industrialized parts of the embayment.  The main point sources of pollution are the South Essex Sewerage District Wastewater Facility, the Salem Harbor Power Plant, and historic point sources such as leather tanneries along the North River which enters Salem Sound.  While non-point sources consist of stormwater runoff and atmospheric deposition.  As a result of Salem Sound’s long pollution history over the last few hundred years, there will likely be a well preserved record of heavy metal inputs within the sediments.  Sediment cores were taken near the mouth of the North River (NR) and next to the Haste Outfall (HO) sewage discharge pipe.  The HO core was dated using 137Cs and the age constraints of the NR core were modeled after the HO dates by comparing similar patterns in the metal concentrations.  The concentrations of various metals were measured using an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer.  There is a dramatic increase in the concentrations of chromium, zinc, and lead at a depth of 24.5 cm (early 1840s) in the HO core and a significant increase at a depth of 26.5 cm (late 1820s) in the NR core.  The observed increases in metal concentrations are associated at a time where the tanning industry was showing a great enhancement in technology.  The peak concentrations of chromium, zinc, and lead in the HO core occur between 16.5 cm (mid 1890s) and 17.5 cm (late 1880s) while in the NR core they occur between 17.5 cm (late 1880s) and 18.5 cm (early 1880s) suggesting that they are coming from the same source.

Distribution of toxic metals in surface sediments of the North River estuary, Salem, MA. M.P. Dellea and D. Allen, Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University,
Salem, MA 01970
.    The North River, located in Salem, Massachusetts flows through the cities of Peabody and Salem. The North River estuary adjoins the Danvers River estuary to form Beverly Harbor of Salem Sound. The North River is part of a historically industrialized urban watershed. In an attempt to identify any trends regarding the source of the toxic metals in the estuary contour maps detailing the concentrations of toxic metals in the upper 7cm of sediment were composed using ArcMap software. Grab samples were dried, homogenized, and analyzed using an X-ray fluorescent (XRF) spectrometer. Concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Ni, Cu, Pb, and Zn were compared to ERL, ERM, and Massachusetts TET sediment quality guidelines. The overall trend indicates that toxic metal concentrations decrease away from the mouth of the river into the estuary.  Historical georeferencing shows elevated industrial activity, mainly of the tanning industry along the river during the 19th and 20th centuries. The tanning process produces high levels of waste enriched in toxic metals which migrate into sediment. Contour maps also reveal multiple areas of anomalously high concentrations of toxic metals, these differences in concentrations suggest multiple sources. Redistribution of the metals may have occurred as a result of revitalization attempts in the industrial complexes along the river.  Redistribution of toxic metals suggests the necessity of erosion control as a means to sequester contaminants and prevent further spread into the estuary, harbor, and Salem Sound.

Phenolic polymerization using FeIII-TAML system. Kristen E Entwistle1, Dwight Tshudy1, Terrence J. Collins2, 1Department of Chemistry, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984, 2Institute for Green Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Previous work has shown the effectiveness of the FeIII-TAML hydrogen peroxide system to degrade toxins. It is reported in the literature that peroxidases, along with hydrogen peroxide, can be used to polymerize phenols, but little work has been done in characterization of the TAML polymerization process. As an initial study, 4-ethylphenol is being evaluated as a model compound to study this reaction mechanism. Infrared spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, UV/Vis absorbance spectroscopy, size exclusion chromatography, and matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry are utilized to study both the reaction products and the starting materials.

Influence of Landscape Edge and Forest Cover Type Elements on Abundance of Three Native Year-Round Passerine Species.  W.J. Fenton and G.S. Keller, Department of Biology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.    Landscape elements can be linked to bird species abundance in geographic areas. During October and November of 2010, we investigated the influence of forest cover type and forest edge type and proximity on bird abundance.  The abundances of three resident passerine species, Poecile atricapillus (black-capped chickadee), Sitta carolinensis (white-breasted nuthatch), and Cyanocitta cristata (blue jay), were measured at sixteen sites around Wenham, MA.  The sites varied according to cover type in a 30m radius.  Abundance was compared with percent coniferous and deciduous cover type in 30m and 150m radii using GIS.  Abundance was also compared to edge distance and edge type.  A seven predictor stepwise regression found correlations between all three species for nearest edge, and chickadees and nuthatches for natural edge.  Negative correlations occurred for chickadee abundance relative to percent coniferous forest in a 150m radius and for the nuthatch abundance relative to both nearest human edge and percent deciduous forest in a 150m radius.  These results reiterate the importance of edge type and proximity to site use by species. The results also exemplify the importance of scale to landscape studies.  Follow up studies may include efforts towards defining critical scalar thresholds for percent cover type according to bird abundance.

The spatial distribution of aid recipients in Kenya.  M. Forsstrom, H. Yang, and M. Veatch.  Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.    Balancing the costs and benefits of geographic dispersal is relevant to many aid organizations. Give Direct, a non-profit organization, recruits and delivers aid to residents of Kenya with low overhead costs and has small transaction costs after recipients are identified. The aid delivered is cash funds that are directly transferred to the recipients through the use of M-Pesa agents. This project studies where Give Direct should deliver aid, and developed a model to minimize the recruitment costs while achieving the desired diversity and total number of locations visited. Three area-specific needs, malaria risk, poverty, and drought risk, were chosen as high priority. Travel is assumed to be a single trip from Nairobi and travel cost is measured as the minimum-cost circuit for a given set of locations. Costs, including room and board and hiring a local worker, are also incurred at each location.

A Preliminary Study of the Distribution and Abundance in Aedes atropalus and Aedes japonicus in Different Habitats on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. M. Gutwillig and M. Butler, Department of Environmental Science, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915 and G. O’Meara, University of Florida, Florida Medical Entomology Lab 200 9th St SE, Vero Beach, FL 32962    Aedes atropalpus a mosquito native to Cape Ann, MA and Aedes japonicus an invasive species are both classified as rock pool breeding mosquitoes. Both species have been found infected with the West Nile Virus and may contribute to the spread of the disease. However, differences in life histories may make Ae. japonicus a more important vector.  This preliminary data will be used to help identify factors contributing to habitat preference for each species. Mosquito samples were obtained from seaside rock pools in Rockport and Gloucester, MA and from a wooded area in West Gloucester, MA. Samples taken from the rock pools were collected using a turkey baster and those taken from West Gloucester were collected using ovitraps. Larvae, pupae, and some adults reared from pupae in the laboratory were identified to species using a dissecting microscope.  The vast majority of mosquitoes collected from the rock pools were Ae. atropalpus, while those taken from West Gloucester were primarily Ae. japonicus. This variation in species distribution is likely caused by microclimatic conditions.  The role of factors such as the timing of collections, temperature, salinity, and presence of competitors requires further study for clarification.  In other parts of the country, Ae. atroplapus live in freshwater environments along rivers unlike our local variety that lives along seashores.  It is possible that there may be genetic differences in these two groups of Ae. atropalpus. We hope to pursue genetic studies in the future.

Regional Correlation of Sediment Cores from Tea Pond, Eustis, ME and Conroy Lake, Monticello, ME Through a Multi-proxy Analysis of Holocene Sediments    Hammond, Bradford, Hubeny, Bradford, Cantwell, Mark, Morissette,Cam, Crispo,M.L.   Tea Pond, Eustis, ME and Conroy Lake, Monticello, ME each contain complete Holocene sedimentary records. The purpose of this study is to correlate paleoenvironmental indicators from both lakes, located approximately 237km apart, through a multiple proxy analysis. Age models created from radiocarbon dates taken from these sections have shown the basal age of the Tea Pond core to be ~12,547 14C years BP and Conroy Lake core to have a basal age of ~10,566 14C years BP. Proxies used in this study include, percent organic carbon, percent CaCO3, dry and wet bulk densities, percent H2O, magnetic susceptibility, δ13C, δ15N, atomic C/N ratios and percent nitrogen. Analyzing proxies within constrained ages has allowed for a regional correlation of proxy data.    This study focuses on the analysis of organic matter (OM) preserved in the sedimentary record and has revealed periods of time at which there are correlations in proxy data between lakes and times at which there are not. Analyses into the source of OM through δ13C and atomic C/N ratios have shown lacustrine algae and C3 vascular plants to be the primary OM sources at both Conroy Lake and Tea Pond. Average OM percentages at Tea Pond are 38.7% and at Conroy Lake are 37.8%. Average CaCO3 percentages at Tea Pond are 13.7% and at Conroy Lake are 17.8%. Correlations between OM percentages are observed from 0 - 1,500 14C years BP and at 3,700 - 5,000 14C years BP. Conversely, when correlations are not seen in this data between 1,500 - 3,700 14C years BP, the paleoenvironmental conditions may have been influenced more strongly by local environmental conditions. This study has shown correlations in paleoenvironmental proxies from Tea Pond and Conroy Lake throughout the Holocene, which provide useful data in the reconstruction of Holocene climate.


Molecular analysis of spotted salamander populations: Amplified fragment length polymorphism and genetic diversity’s correlation to breeding success. Rachel Keller, Ken Hallenbeck, Seth Gerard, Kimberly Spaulding, and Dorothy Boorse, Department of Biology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.    Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) breed in vernal pools during the spring months. Females lay fertilized egg masses on structures within their breeding pool. We have counted these egg masses in two vernal pools as an index of a population’s breeding success rate. We have performed molecular analysis of these populations and found data that is highly suggestive of a correlation between breeding success and intra-population genetic diversity. DNA extraction was successfully performed on developed embryos and adult toe clippings. This DNA was used to measure genetic variability of two breeding populations with an Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) analysis protocol that we optimized for the species.

Anthropogenic Influences on Sediment Dynamics Within Salem Sound, MA. Kristiansen, Ellen1, Hubeny, J. Bradford1, Zhu, Jun2, Olsen, Curtis2, Warren, Barbara3
(1) Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University, Salem MA 01970, (2) Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston MA 02125-3393 (3) Salem Sound Coast Watch, Salem MA 01970. 
  The Salem Sound watershed (MA) is a developed residential area that has experienced human activity since settlement in the early 1600s. It contains two potential point sources of pollution: the Salem Harbor Power station, a coal-burning power plant, and the South Essex Sewerage District's wastewater treatment facility. This study hypothesizes that anthropogenic changes are influencing the sediment dynamics in Salem Sound and that these changes have been preserved in the sediment record. Six cores were taken at three locations within the Sound to test this hypothesis. One core from each location was extruded to create a 210Pb and 137Cs age model. A variety of analyses were performed on the cores. LOI values in the core proximal to the sewage outfall pipe appear to correspond to historic events and changes in sewage treatment. There is a rapid increase in LOI values, from 6.6% to 11.8% at the depth that corresponds to 1905 (~18cm), when the sewage outfall pipe was constructed. Similarly, values decrease at depths that correspond to when sewage treatment was upgraded to primary (~6cm) and secondary (~2cm) treatment. Volume and mass magnetic susceptibility appears to reflect power plant activity, as values significantly increase at ~10cm, which corresponds to power plant construction (1952). Frequency dependence (FD) data suggest that this increase in susceptibility could be associated with fly ash since the FD values in the upper 10cm are almost consistently 0%. These values are significantly lower than the rest of the core. There is also a peak in magnetic susceptibility (5.37x10-8 m3/kg) at approximately 16cm, which could be due to the Great Salem Fire of 1914. At this depth LOI values decrease as well, which supports the hypothesis.

Laboratory investigation of trace metal mobility from CO2 sequestration at natural analog sites.  LeBel, Jennifer and Allen, Douglas, Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University, Salem MA 01970.    An important factor in carbon sequestration is to protect groundwater resources.  There are many geologic locations with naturally occurring CO2 release that help us observe long term effects of CO2 on groundwater quality.  At a natural analog site in north-central New Mexico (Chimayo), there are many faults along which aquifers are affected by waters containing high total dissolved solids (TDS) and elevated concentrations of CO2.  The purpose of this study is to look at the effect of CO2 on unaffected aquifers should high TDS and CO2 reach them, focusing on possible changes in water quality and mobility of trace metals and compared to the natural analogue site.  Sediment samples were collected from an outcrop from the Chimayo aquifer (Tesuque Formation, Santa Fe Group).  These silty-clay samples were ground and sieved to <60 mesh.  Two synthetic groundwater solutions were created based on well samples: synthetic Na-HCO3 “background” water and synthetic Na-Ca-HCO3 “saline” water.  Nine reactor vessels were constructed; reactors 2-5 contained the sediment samples and synthetic groundwater solutions continuously sparged with CO2 at 1 atm; the remaining reactors (6-9), with respective contents, were not sparged with CO2 to imitate unaffected aquifers.  The reactors were sampled 7 times.  As expected, in reactors 2-5 there was a decrease in pH and in reactors 6-9, pH levels stayed relatively high and were similar to field-tested pH values of low-CO2 Chimayo waters.  Trace metal analyses show an initial increase of As and U upon addition of CO2 to reactors 2-5, but a continuous decrease (with occasional variability) after 24 hours.  This suggests that adsorption and desorption are controlling these reactions.  The decrease in As and U also implies that adsorption could alleviate harmful effects of trace metal mobility.


A unique evolutionary model for studies of physiological interactions and stem cell production. Lauren McLeod and Bram Lutton, Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915.    Neural stimulation of the bone marrow in mammals is well-defined, and has recently been linked to the production of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC).  Moreover, components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, including several protein and steroid hormones, affect both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system by modulation of the cells and factors they produce.  The cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates and rays) offer a novel perspective for the study of integrated physiological mechanisms of action.  In these species, which have survived for over 400 million years, a unique immune tissue serves as the “bone marrow equivalent,” known as the epigonal organ.  The preliminary studies presented here have begun to characterize the relationship between epigonal HSPC and the vasculature of the skate, Leucoraja erinacea.  Timed arterial perfusions and corrosion casting illustrate vascular pathways within the epigonal organ, while hematoxylin and eosin staining demonstrate direct cellular relationships between epigonal cells and the vasculature.  Immunohistochemistry followed by in vitro experiments indicate that the HPG hormones may play an important role in immune regulation via stimulation of HSPC proliferation in the epigonal organ.  Ongoing studies in our laboratory will continue IHC assessment of proliferating cells in an attempt to identify the stem cell self-renewing areas within the epigonal tissue.  We hypothesize that regions surrounding blood vessels will illustrate a clearly defined vascular niche, further shedding light on the evolution of the bone marrow compartment in humans.  We believe that this model has the potential to provide novel information to support the already well-established mouse and zebrafish models of hematopoiesis.  These studies are relevant for mechanistic understanding of stem cell production, which is fundamental in clinical bone marrow transplantation.

Toward a Varve Reconstruction of Holocene Climate and Environmental Variability from Conroy Lake, ME.  Morrisette, Cameron1, Hubaney, J. Bradford1, Cantwell, Mark2, Hammond, Bradford1, and Crispo, Mary Lynne1, (1) Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 01970, (2) Atlantic Ecology Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882.    Lacustrine sediments can be exceptional archives of paleoclimatological and paleoenvironmental conditions, and recent approaches to studying climate parameters include providing absolute dates to varve chronologies. The two main research questions addressed for this project were 1.) What relationships do varve properties at Conroy Lake, ME have with modern climate conditions; and 2.) How do the thicknesses of sedimentary laminations preserved in Conroy Lake relate to instrumental data? It is hypothesized that a correlation will be found between climate instrumental records and varve characteristics (i.e. thicknesses).   
Previous data from a 2009 piston core (Morissette et al. 2010) showed shifts in multiple proxies below and above 40 cm (mean below: mean above): volume magnetic susceptibility (1.3x10-5SI: 2.8x10-5SI), CaCO3 (16%: 10%), ∑RGB (169: 159), δ13C (-33.9š: -23.6š), and a stepwise shift of δ15N. Previous pollen analyses done on Conroy Lake (Gajewski, 1987) show increases of the Ambrosia and Rumex horizons at ~1830 AD, which can be attributed to the settlement and town incorporation of Monticello in 1846 AD. Historical accounts show that early settlers utilized the land for farming and logging. The shifts in proxies at 40cm are hypothesized to be due to land use change associated with the pollen shifts previously identified. Varve counts from this core show a statistically significant increase in lamination thicknesses between pre-settlement (mean= 0.045 cm) and post appearance (mean= 0.162 cm) (t-test= -11.4; p<<0.0001). This shift is hypothesized to also be due to changes ~40cm; however, due to core deformation, a significant stratigraphic interval (30.9cm-60.5cm) could not be counted previously. Ongoing analyses are bridging stratigraphic gaps in the record and will likely yield climatic significance.  Continuous petrographic thin sections were made from three 2010 freeze cores and lamination counts are on-going. The freeze cores preserve the upper flocculent sediments in situ, and help to increase varve resolution as compared to piston cores.

Characterization of Ceramic based dental composites.  R. O’Neil and J. Kaufman, School of Arts and Sciences, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915.   I will be creating a new dental biomaterial that will replace the currently available resins using ceramic components.  This material will be a light-cured composite that is polymerized in the presence of hydroxyapatite powder.  The dental biomaterial will be more biomimetic than currently available resins, but the addition of a ceramic component is likely to change the mechanical properties of the material.  The mechanical properties of this new material will be tested to determine suitability for dental application and ensure there is no loss of function.  By testing the mechanical properties with microindentation and nanoindentation, we will determine if the new biomaterial has appropriate hardness to be used as a dental filling.  In this study, a new material that should have a longer lifetime will be synthesized.   The composites will be synthesized using two distinct protocols.  The first protocol will be polymerization in the presence of hydroapatite crystals.  The second protocol will use a urea-mediated process to suspend the hydroxapatite prior to polymerization.   Both types of materials will undergo microindentation and nanoindentation.  In this study, we hope to investigate whether composites with hydroxyapatite can be synthesized that maintain the mechanical strength of currently available dental biomaterials while increasing the expected lifetime of the filling.


The effects of water quality on breeding effort in spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica).  Ken Preedom, Robert Ainslie, Spencer Lord, and Dorothy Boorse.  Gordon College Biology Department, Wenham, MA 01984.
Vernal pools are bodies of fresh water that exist in a wooded context and fully dry nearly every summer. These pools contain several obligate amphibian species that rely on the pools for reproduction, including spotted salamanders (Ambstyoma maculatum) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica).  However, several water quality factors may affect their reproductive efforts. These include conductivity, pH and dissolved aluminum concentration.  Dissolved aluminum concentrations have been reported to correlate with pH, and can have effects on amphibian populations ranging from sub-lethal to lethal.  Conductivity has also been reported to correlate with the amount of run-off in roadside areas where deicing road salts are used.  These water quality factors will be correlated with egg mass abundance of our two species of interest.  The conductivity and pH will be tested using a multifunctional water quality tester and the aluminum testing will be in conjunction with another student project. This study will analyze twenty vernal pools located on the North Shore of Massachusetts.  We found no statistically significant correlation between any of these factors.

The Effect of Hurricane Earl on Invertebrates and Algae along the North Shore. K. L. Rich and G. Keller, Department of Biology, Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984.  
The disturbance of a hurricane or ocean storm has the ability to alter the coastal environments it hit. The difference of species richness and abundance are commonly analyzed before and after a hurricane to determine the storms impact on the coastal conditions. Before Hurricane Earl hit the North Shore of Massachusetts on September 2, 2010, eleven sites were chosen along the coast where water samples were taken and the abundance of macro invertebrates and algae were recorded. After the hurricane made landfall, the same sites were visited and the same samples/observations were taken. The distance of roads from the sites, the amount of residential area surrounding the sites, and the exposure of the sites were measured using a GIS.  We found that the richness of macro invertebrates was lower after the hurricane hit, while the richness of micro invertebrates and algae remained relatively stable. Also, where there was more residential area and a closer proximity to roads, the site had a higher exposure and thus created a greater impact on the coastal ecosystem.

The morphologic responses of Phillips Beach (MA) to meteorological conditions, fall 2010.  Annie Surette and Brad Hubeny, Department of Geological Sciences, Salem State University,Salem, MA 01970.    Beaches are dynamic environments that experience cycles of erosion and accretion in response to changes in coastal conditions associated with meteorological events. Such morphologic changes have environmental and economical implications, and an understanding of a particular beach’s responses to storms can be beneficial to the local community. This study seeks to establish initial profile and volume data from Phillips Beach, Swampscott, MA in order to investigate the beach’s responses to meteorological events. The beach is a southeast facing, welded barrier beach with an approximate vertical relief of 6 meters, and a tidal range of ~3.7meters. A permanent stake has been placed in the back-barrier (42.47128°N x 070.88679°W), and beach profiling has been performed at a bearing of S70E from the stake using a modified Emory method. A baseline survey was conducted on 4/25/2010 and approximately bi-weekly surveys have been on-going since September 2010. The profile data yield cross-sectional profiles and volume data along the transect line which document morphological and volumetric changes that occurred on this beach. Data taken from buoy 44013, the Boston approach light buoy, documented a storm on 10/16/2010 that moved over this area with WNW winds that averaged speeds above 25 mph. The wave height at times was over 2 meters and the duration of the storm was approximately 40 hours. Surveys taken on 10/12/2010 and 10/28/2010 reveal a volume loss and a visible change to the profile. Data taken from the same buoy documented another storm on 11/9/2010 with NNE winds that reached speeds over 30 mph. This storm lasted approximately 48 hours and the wave height was over 3 meters for most of its duration. A survey taken on 11/11/2010 again shows a volume loss of sand. An off shore bar that was observed in the surf zone during this survey is likely the location of the removed sediment. Partial recovery of the beach was observed in the profile shape and associated volume gain from a survey taken on 12/12/2010.






View a slide show of this years meeting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/storyman/sets/72157626226499704/show/