Search Projects

shallow lake covered in aquatic vegetation

Variation in arthropod diversity in aquatic habitats

Faculty: Derek Girman
Partners: Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

We used pitfall traps to study arthropod diversity on three pond edge habitats at the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge. The greatest arthropod diversity was found in Tule habitat.

Student making a thin section from a sample of rock

Weathering and landslide susceptibility in the Copeland Creek watershed

Faculty: Laura Waters
Partners: Sonoma County Water Agency, Center for Environmental Inquiry

The upper watershed of Copeland Creek is known for its landslides, slumps and debris flows. We evaluated sites on SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve to determine how slope stability is correlated with rock type, and degree of weathering and vegetation. 

Student collecting soil sample

Characterization and causes of soil compaction

2016 - 2018
Faculty: Nathan Rank, Martha Shott, Jeremy Qualls, Wendy St. John, Melina Kozanitas
Partners: Crane Creek Regional Park

Soil compaction increases runoff and erosion. Students characterized and studied the cause of soil compaction at multiple sites. 

Waste treatment filters in a bucket

Winery wastewater treatment

2015 to present
Faculty: Michael Cohen
Partners: D’Argenzio Winery, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Lagunitas Brewery, Fogbelt Brewery, Osmosis Spa

Development of a pilot-scale microbial fuel cell system for treating wastewater from wine production 

Student collecting data along a hiking trail

Mitigating trail erosion at the Osborn Preserve

2014 to 2017
Faculty: Suzanne DeCoursey
Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry

Use of hiking trails can increase erosion, soil compaction, and transmission of Sudden Oak Death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, from surface runoff. We conducted a survey to identify sections of trail at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve (upper Copeland Creek watershed) with excessive erosion.

Coastal vegetation, with Salmon Creek and the Pacific Ocean in the distance

Evaluation of restoration at Salmon Creek estuary

Faculty: Jackie Guilford, Wendy St. John

Cardinale et al 2017: We surveyed vegetation in Salmon Creek to determine the impact of invasive species  affect the ecosystem.

A field with grape vines

Sustainability of Sonoma County wineries

Faculty: Gillian Parker
Partners: Sonoma County Winegrowers

These projects review the effects of wine-growing on water and other natural resources. Biodynamic agriculture and other sustainable practices are recommended for reducing environmental impacts. Ethical issues are explored.

Student holding harvest mouse

Impacts of cattle grazing on grassland communities

Faculty: Derek Girman
Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry, Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation

Despite decreased vegetation height, thatch depth, and increased soil compaction, cattle grazing did not impact the observation rate of ground-dwelling grassland vertebrates.

Soil samples being heated in a furnace

Carbon budget for Corte Madera marsh

Faculty: Michelle Goman

Tidal salt marshes are important carbon sequestration environments. We analyzed sediment gathered from three core samples at varying distances from a tidal channel to determine carbon accumulation for the past century.

bay leaves with brown tips

Spread of Sudden Oak Death in the Copeland Creek Watershed

Faculty: Nathan Rank, Melina Kozanitas
Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry

We found that Sudden Oak Death occurs in bay laurel and European sweet bay trees on SSU campus but that symptomatic leaves are lower on campus than at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve.