Student Research Presentations

May 1st, 2015 by June

This spring, a number of students are completing the Master of Science degree. As part of their degree requirements, the students are presenting their research. Please join us for these presentations!

May 5 – 9:30 am – Boyd 001: Jen Bell, Testing the Floristic Quality Assessment as an Indicator of Human Disturbance in Forested Wetlands of New Hampshire

May 7 – 11:00 am – Boyd 001: Jess Wilhelm, Trace Metal Concentrations in New England Rivers and Streams

May 8 – 9:30 am – Lamson 124: Jonathon Loos, Understanding Stakeholder Preferences for Flood Adaptation Alternatives with Ecosystem Service Implications

May 12 – 9:00 am – Boyd 144: Greg DiSanto, Soil condition and morphology on hiking trails in the White Mountains Region

May 12 – 2:00 pm – Boyd 144: Melanie Perello, Linking the effects of land use vs. climate change on water quality in northern New England lakes

May 12 – 4 pm – Boyd 144: Curtis Mooney, Upstream Passage of American Eels (Anguilla rostrata) in the Merrimack River Garvins Falls Hydroelectric Project Passage Case Study

May 26 – 10:00 am – Boyd 001: Chelsea Berg, Evaluating the Ecosystem Service of Nutrient Removal in a Coastal Watershed: A Case Study of New Hampshire’s Great Bay

Research Grants Awarded to Melanie Perello

April 20th, 2015 by June

Meleanie Perello fieldMelanie Perello, a second-year graduate student in PSU’s Environmental Science and Policy program, has been awarded research grants from the Geological Society of America (GSA) and Sigma Xi. She is also the inaugural recipient of the International Phycological Society’s (IPC) Paul C. Silva grant. These grants are supporting Perello’s Master of Science thesis research which focuses on the effects of land use and climate on water quality in Squam and Ossipee Lakes in New Hampshire. The GSA research grants program provides partial support of master’s and doctoral thesis research in the geological sciences for graduate students enrolled in universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America, and Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society is the international honor society of science and engineering.

Perello’s research is a collaborative project with the Center for the Environment, the Squam Lakes Association, and the Green Mountain Conservation Group. Her project has two parts: sediment core analyses and water monitoring. For the sediment analyses, she has taken multiple short cores from both lakes and is using geochemistry as well as particle size and diatom community assemblages to provide a long-term record (over 200 years) of water quality and environmental conditions in the lakes. For the monitoring, she has been collecting water samples for the past year and has set up a in-situ mooring with temperature loggers at the deepest basin of each lake.

So far, Perello’s research results show fluctuations in sediment geochemistry and particle size over time that indicates watershed changes are recorded in the lake sediments and can be connected with surrounding land use and climatic events. The water monitoring results reveal seasonal fluctuations in chemistry with strong influences of storm events throughout the past year.

Perello’s project will be concluding in the summer of 2015 with analysis of the sediment cores and diatoms in these sediments. When combined with water monitoring records, her work will help provide the lake associations with a history of their lake and suggestions for the future management of the lakes.

Lisa Doner, assistant professor of Environmental Science and Policy, serves as Perello’s research advisor.

Shannon Rogers is Speaker at Newfound Business Summit

April 15th, 2015 by June
Diverse and engaged area business leaders ready for the Newfound Business Summit

Diverse and engaged area business leaders ready for the Newfound Business Summit

Newfound Business Summit Sets Stage for Economic Master Plan

By Boyd Smith, Newfound Lake Region Association

On Monday April 13, 2015 more than forty attendees generated a soft roar of energetic conversation in the usually quiet Minot-Sleeper Library as they waited for the first Newfound Business Summit to begin. The purpose of the Summit was to enhance partnerships between the business, academic and non-profit communities to build a stronger and more sustainable environment and economy.

Boyd Smith, Director of the Newfound Lake Region Association, started the evening with a round of introductions and audience input on what brought them to the Summit. Concerns included lack of cell phone coverage in Bristol, the need for year-round economic activity, and the desire for more social unity. Smith recognized these challenges and added, “The rich natural and human resources of the area, such as the ability to connect Bristol’s Central Square with Profile Falls and its network of trails and rivers, create huge potential for thoughtful and sustained growth.”

Paul Fraser, Chairman of the Bristol Economic Development Task Force, started the discussion by introducing the Task Force and its mission. Fraser stated, “The Task Force sees Bristol as poised for vibrant economic growth. Interest in businesses “making it in Bristol” has never been higher. The Select Board and Task Force have worked hard to lay the foundation for sustainable growth with interest and input from a variety of stake holders.” Paul then directed the audience to a local business survey to provide ideas for Bristol’s future.

Scott Stephens, Director of the newly-formed Central NH Chamber of Commerce, shared his insightful and heartfelt vision of what makes our region successful, and our potential for even more success. Stephens emphasized, “We need to develop critical infrastructure such as cell phone coverage, broadband, and health and educational services, and then continually market our community to convince families and businesses that already know about us to settle in the area.”

Dr. Shannon Rogers, Assistant Professor of Ecological Economics at Plymouth State University, provided a powerful addition to the mix – the concept of ecosystem services and how they benefit society. “Think of ecosystem services as Nature providing for our well being” said Dr. Rogers. “Forests give us timber, recreation and clean water; the soil provides us with our food; and the ecosystem as a whole surrounds us with aesthetic beauty and a sense of place.”

Dr. Charlie French, Associate Professor for Community & Economic Development at UNH Cooperative Extension wrapped up the presentations with some hard data on the local economy. Dr. French said, “The Newfound Region has a wealth of natural assets that help to drive the local economy, but much of our purchasing is done outside of the area. If the region is to effectively leverage its assets, it is important to understand the opportunities to expand existing, and to develop new, businesses.” He continued by adding “Economic data and analysis can help identify the leverage points, but it is people coming together around a common vision and rolling up their sleeves to do the work that achieves the possibilities.”

Audience members then asked questions and voiced opinions about next steps. Shawn Lagueux mentioned the perennial challenge of balancing the status quo with economic growth, noting a certain resistance to change in the Bristol community. Geoff Sewake, Grafton County Extension Field Specialist for Economic Development, noted the need for a place for people to gather, citing the example of how Littleton, NH installed pianos around the town and how this has created a quirky yet powerful sense of community. Sewake said “A sense of place and ability to live close to a vital downtown is an excellent way to build a stronger community.” Bristol resident Victor Field noted that small successes lead to larger ones, and that using the data provided by the panelists is an important part of crafting a successful vision for growth.

Smith concluded, “The Summit was potentially transformative. Ideas, passion, energy, and experience are powerful change agents. I look forward to being a part of creating a master plan for balanced and sustainable economic growth in the Newfound area.”

The Summit was a collaborative effort sponsored by the Bristol Economic Development Task Force, the Central NH Chamber of Commerce, and the Newfound Lake Region Association.

Art from Environmental Data

April 15th, 2015 by June
Watersheds #1, laser print. Artists: Patricia Brousseau, Adam Finkelman, and Scott Bailey

Watersheds #1, laser print. Artists: Patricia Brousseau, Adam Finkelman, and Scott Bailey

The Lamson Learning Commons at PSU is hosting an exhibit, Art from Environmental Data, from April 4th – June 26th, 2015. The exhibit is located on the main level of Lamson. Please join us for the opening reception and gallery talk on Tuesday, April 21st, 4-6 pm. The exhibit is coordinated by Mark Green and PSU’s Center for the Environment. The curator of the exhibit is Jen Green, digital librarian at Lamson Learning Commons.

Mark Green noted, “As scientists, we produce and process data that helps us interpret and quantify the world around us.  At times we realize that the data visualizations we produce might be interesting to non-scientists. By embracing these times and sharing our work with the broader world, we can improve our skill at engaging and informing the general public in scientific discovery.  Aesthetics play a major role in this engagement. In this exhibit, we’re showing the types of images that arise from our environmental research, and in some cases, going above and beyond what we would normally do to emphasize the artistic aspect of our data. In both cases, we are providing our perspective as scientists. We are presenting to you the perspective of scientists and no one else. This exhibit is an opportunity to show the aesthetics that come from or can be produced from our scientific processes.”

Mark Green is a PSU professor and hydrologist, focused on forests and their role in regulating water movement and water quality. He and his students study the hydrologic cycle using water tracing techniques and data mining of large public databases. He teaches graduate classes in data visualization, forest ecology, and watershed hydrology. A major aspect of Mark’s work is serving as a research hydrologist with the Northern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. This exhibit is in collaboration with and features the work of colleagues and students representing Plymouth State University and the Northern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service.

Jonathon Loos Awarded American Rivers’ Lapham Fellowship

March 25th, 2015 by June

LoosFellowship315 006Jonathon Loos, a graduate student in Plymouth State University’s Master of Science program in Environmental Science and Policy and the Center for the Environment, has been awarded the American Rivers’ Anthony A. Lapham River Conservation Fellowship. This fellowship honors the memory of Anthony A. Lapham who served for many years on the board of American Rivers, including as its Chairman.

The Lapham Fellowship provides an excellent professional development opportunity for talented post-graduates pursuing careers as leaders in the field of conservation advocacy. One recipient is selected every two years out of a national pool of applicants. The goals of the Lapham Fellowship Program are to develop the next generation of conservation leaders, and to generate research products that directly support the mission and goals of American Rivers. Lapham Fellows focus on an applied research project that will make a tangible contribution to American River’s mission, develop advocacy skills and create a network of professional contacts.

During this two-year fellowship, Loos will work in Washington, DC with the American Rivers Director of Restoration Policy to carry out a collaborative project focused within the Connecticut River watershed and contribute to current policy initiatives within the American Rivers organization. His proposed research project will examine the ecological and social benefits that come from intact floodplain ecosystems, and will generate frameworks for including local values in management of floodplains at local and regional community levels.

Collecting Sediment Core Samples From Kezar Lake

March 11th, 2015 by June

Contributed by Lucy LaCasse, Kezar Lake Association, Stoneham Maine

Preparing to lower the sediment core sampling apparatus through the ice at Kezar Lake with Dr. Lisa Doner of PSU; Field Martin, a PSU undergraduate student in Environmental Science and Policy; Don Griggs, chair of the Kezar Lake Watershed Association's Climate Change Observatory; and Jay Hunter, a community volunteer.

Preparing to lower the sediment core sampling apparatus through the ice at Kezar Lake with Dr. Lisa Doner of PSU; Field Martin, a PSU undergraduate student in Environmental Science and Policy; Don Griggs, chair of the Kezar Lake Watershed Association’s Climate Change Observatory; and Jay Hunter, a community volunteer.

Given the recent pattern of heavy snows, high winds, and bitter cold, we lucked out with February 28 as our chosen day to collect sediment core samples from the bottom of Kezar Lake, in Lovell. Though last Saturday dawned with sub-zero temperatures, the day warmed beautifully to the mid-20’s and provided cloudless skies, brilliant sunshine, and barely a breeze: absolutely perfect conditions for a day on the ice.

The coring effort, organized by the Kezar Lake Watershed Association’s Climate Change Observatory, is a collaboration with Dr. Lisa Doner at Plymouth State University (PSU), New Hampshire. Doner is a paleolimnologist (the study of past changes in lake environments) in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and a researcher at PSU’s Center for the Environment. With the logistical and moral support of 26 volunteers from the Kezar Lake area, Doner and five PSU students transformed our normal weekend routine into an actual scientific field expedition.

Melanie Perello Awarded International Phycological Society’s Paul C. Silva Grant

February 24th, 2015 by June

February 24th, 2015 by blyndes

PSU graduate student Melanie Perello has received a prestigious grant to study water quality in New Hampshire’s Ossipee and Squam Lakes.

PSU graduate student Melanie Perello has received a prestigious grant to study water quality in New Hampshire’s Ossipee and Squam Lakes.

Plymouth, N.H.– A Plymouth State University graduate student has received a prestigious grant to study water quality in New Hampshire’s Ossippee and Squam Lakes.

Melanie Perello, a second-year graduate student in PSU’s Environmental Science and Policy program, is the inaugural recipient of the International Phycological Society’s (IPC) Paul C. Silva grant. This award for student-led research on algae supports Perello’s Master of Science thesis, a collaborative project with the Center for the Environment, the Squam Lakes Association and the Green Mountain Conservation Group, to monitor various indicators of water quality, including diatoms (algae), in the two lakes.

“Specifically, I am looking at diatom fossils preserved in the sediments of Ossipee and Squam Lakes,” said Perello. “Both of these lakes are important resources for drinking water and recreation, as well as vital habitat for sensitive wildlife. The quality of these lakes is continually threatened by changing climate, nutrient pollution, and shoreline development. Diatoms can be used as an indicator of lake water quality and the fossils allow us to infer past water quality and climate, providing a long-term record for each lake.”

Perello’s research expands upon historical and current data gathered by lake water quality assessment volunteers in New Hampshire by combining it with new, year-round water quality monitoring and lake sediment archives analyses.

“Melanie is targeting two regions within New Hampshire that have very active volunteer monitoring programs and whose lake associations are concerned about future influences on water quality by land-use and climate change,” said PSU Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Lisa Doner, who also serves as Perello’s advisor. “The support from the International Phycological Society will assist Melanie in meeting her research goals and also support the region through applied environmental science.”

“We will be able to tell residents the history of water quality in those two lakes, the changes that have occurred and what those changes are related to,” added Perello.

Perello is a native of Poland, Ohio, and earned her undergraduate degree at Westminster College.

The IPC is dedicated to the development of phycology (the study of algae), the distribution of phycological information and international cooperation among phycologists and phycological organizations. Dr. Paul Claude Silva (1922-2014) helped organize the IPC in 1960 and is regarded as a leader in the field of algae study. He spent most of his working life at the University of California-Berkeley and the Jepson Herbarium. The grant includes funding for travel to meetings and workshops in which the student is presenting work on algae research projects.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or

CFE Celebrates Winter

February 20th, 2015 by June
MS ESP Graduate Students enjoying the skiing and riding

MS ESP Graduate Students enjoying the skiing and riding

Each year at Plymouth State University, winter is celebrated with Winter Carnival. For a day in February, students, faculty and staff enjoy a day of being outside and having fun in the snow. It is great time to spend time with each other in a relaxed setting, practice winter sports, and just have fun.

Nordic Skiing in Waterville Valley

Nordic Skiing in Waterville Valley

photo 4

Students and faculty snowshoeing in Waterville Valley

Students and faculty snowshoeing in Waterville Valley

Student Posters Win at NHANRS Meeting

February 13th, 2015 by June

NHANRS Color LogoGraduate students Chelsea Berg and Jennifer Bell attended the 2015 New Hampshire Association of Natural Resource Scientists (NHANRS) 2015 Annual Meeting in January where they presented posters on their research as part of a student poster competition. Jen was awarded first prize and Chelsea won second prize in the poster competition.

The students also had the opportunity to discuss their work with environmental consultants, researchers, teachers, and other local professionals. Eight speakers, including CFE affiliate Scott Bailey, covered a variety of topics including hydrology of upland soils, updates to national hydric soil indicators, updates to NH Department of Environmental Services wetland rules, new resources for permitting, an overview of the State’s wetland mitigation program, a proposed bill for watershed planning in the Great Bay basin, an update on MS4 permitting, and a report on the statewide culvert data collection.


Students Present at ACES Conference

February 13th, 2015 by June
Chelsea Berg at ACES

Chelsea Berg at ACES

In December, two graduate students, Chelsea Berg and Jonathon Loos,  attended an ACES, A Community on Ecosystem Services Conference in Washington DC entitled Linking Science, Practice, and Decision Making.  The week-long conference was packed with amazing presentations about ecosystem services work around the globe. Jonathon Loos presented his thesis work on incorporating ecosystem services into decision-making surrounding climate adaptation and flooding. Chelsea Berg presented her thesis work on modeling the ecosystem service of nutrient retention for the Great Bay Estuary in New Hampshire and Maine. Jonathon and Chelsea both volunteered as A.V. Technicians during the conference, and while working a Plenary Session, Chelsea was invited onstage! (see photo) Overall, both students gained incredible insight and enjoyed representing PSU & CFE. The student’s work is supported by NH EPSCoR and Shannon Rogers serves as their advisor.

CBerg ACESPosters:

Jonathon Loos

Jonathon Loos

Contact Us

Contact Us

January 9th, 2013 by Michael

Center for the Environment

Plymouth State University
Samuel Read Hall Building, 2nd Floor
MSC #63, 17 High Street
Plymouth, NH 03264

phone (603) 535-3179
fax (603) 535-3004