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Students present research at the American Association of Geographers

SVSU geography students performed and presented research to the American Association of Geographers. Each group presented different topics, including pollen species and precipitation.

Haley Mueller is an ecology and evolution junior who also works as an SVSU paleoecology research assistant. She was part of the team that presented to the American Association of Geographers about whether there existed a correlation between pollen species ratios and precipitation.

Mueller said the team’s findings and the presentation given are both relevant in today’s society.

“My research would help individuals analyze precipitation and temperature at the same time using the same proxy type,” she said. “This allows individuals to save time and money and explore different proxies with the same core.”

Mueller said that she played a specific role on the research team, and that assistant professor of geography, Dr. Julie Commerford, helped guide and support the research team throughout.

“My role in this operation was to gather and analyze data (count, identify, and graph) I obtained under the supervision of Dr. Commerford,” Mueller stated.

Mueller also said that the research will help humans understand more of the world around them, and the world that existed before humans walked the Earth.

“Analyzing fossilized pollen lets us understand climate of an area over periods of time that predate humans, and helps us understand changes that occurred in the environment that are too gradual for humans to notice,” She said.

Charlotte Schulz is a biology senior who conducted research as well. She worked under Dr. Mohler in the geography department on the topic: “Using UAV Imagery to Examine the Spread of the Invasive Phragmites australis in the Crow Island State Game Area in Saginaw, Michigan, USA.”

“My research used remote sensing software to create maps of the Crow Island State Game Area in Saginaw, Michigan to quantify Phragmites change over a period of three years,” Schulz said. “Phragmites are an invasive species and pose a threat to the natural wetland environment. By mapping and quantifying the growth over time, better management efforts can be made.”

Schulz said the research and presentation was relevant because it expanded her knowledge of wetlands that she has learned in her biology and geography courses. She said it allowed her to also learn how to use a new remote sensing software.

Schulz said her research included collecting drone imagery, creating maps and analyzing research results, and that the data she collected will be used at the local level.

“My research study will be used locally to better understand and manage Phragmites australis at Crow Island State Game Area,” she said. “I am glad that I could help make a difference in our community in Saginaw and help retain the natural state of a wetland.”

Schulz said that she chose to attend SVSU because of the opportunities it offered to its students, including the ability to conduct faculty-led undergraduate research.

“My research project helped me to apply and expand on what I learned in the classroom and improved my ability to communicate research to others,” she said. “I believe my experiences here at SVSU will help set me apart as I graduate and join the workforce.”

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