In tanks at the University of Iowa, mussels equipped with heart rate monitors are purifying water with their excrement. Like human heart monitors, the gadgets glued to the mussels’ shells provide information about activity and metabolism. But in the mussels’ case, this information is helping researchers understand how mussels cleanse the water of agricultural runoff. Link to full article.
Native freshwater mussels can influence the aquatic N cycle, but the mechanisms and magnitude of this effect are not fully understood. We assessed the effects of Amblema plicata and Lampsilis cardium on N transformations over 72 d in 4 continuous-flow mesocosms, with 2 replicates of 2 treatments (mesocosms with and without mussels), equipped with electronic water-chemistry sensors. We compared sensor data to discrete sample data to assess the effect of additional sensor measurements on the ability to detect mussel-related effects on NO3– formation. Link to full article.
The objective of this study was to assess the role of cyclic aeration, vegetation, and temperature on nitrogen removal by subsurface-flow engineered wetlands. Aeration was shown to enhance total nitrogen and ammonia removal and to enhance removal of carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, and phosphorus. Effluent ammonia and total nitrogen concentrations were significantly lower in aerated wetland cells when compared with unaerated cells. Link to full article.
Dr. Craig Just has served the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa since 1993. He earned a masters degree in chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and science from the University of Iowa in 2001. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an assistant research engineer at IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering. He is also the Coordinator of Sustainability Programs for the College of Engineering. Read More