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Lynn Vaccaro

2003 - 2004 CSIP Fellow

Research Interest:
Natural Resources

My current research interests focus on wetland ecosystems and the interaction between plants, soils, and hydrology. I am particularly interested in how plants both respond to and influence the soil environment by affecting decomposition, soil quality, and the microbial and invertebrate community. My Masters research compares the growth and decomposition of an invasive plant in distinct types of wetlands. Wetlands provide a fascinating laboratory to investigate plant ecology and physiology, historical soil profiles, insects, hydrology, wildlife management, and environmental protection issues.

As a CSIP fellow I hope to work with either an earth or life science classroom; my academic background is in both geology and biology. I have several ideas for on-going research projects that could be set up and utilized by many students over time. As a compliment to my own wetland research, students could investigate environmental controls on seed germination and seedling success. Using seeds from local wetlands and a small wetland-in-a-bucket design, students could measure the effects of road salt, urban run-off, lawn fertilizers, invasive species and water table manipulations on different plant species. I also have a side interest in different methods of composting household waste. Composting provides a realistic and hands-on tool for exploring issues of waste production and disposal, and numerous physical, chemical and biological concepts. With an interested class and a cooperating school, we could set up indoor “stealth” cans, worm composting units or outdoor composting bins. I look forward to the challenge of connecting science education standards with relevant scientific inquiry.




Copyright 2006 CSIP, Cornell University