Binghamton University research highlights ecosystem problems, can it be managed? – WBNG-TV

VESTAL (WBNG) -- Binghamton University's Nature Preserve has been the location of an interesting study focusing on wetland ecosystems.

Wetlands in particular can be susceptible to human-caused disturbances and chemical contamination too," Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies George Meindl. "What we focus on are the impacts of road salt runoff and also the impacts of invasive species," he says.

How have these changes in ecosystem chemistry impacted amphibians?

"We found that invasive species plant chemistry, or at least solutions that mimicked invasive species plant chemistry, more negatively impacted our native frogs compared to the non-native frogs. This was particularly true when we exposed frogs to both invasive plant chemistry and also road salts," said Meindl.

Though invasive species are an issue, a large portion of the problem comes from road salt. Finding alternatives to salt, like beet juice, is a start.

With human population still on the rise, road salt is likely not the only human-caused impact to ecosystems, a problem we face moving forward.

"So in all likelihood negative impacts are going to get worse before they can get better. So we need to change the ways that we're interacting with natural landscapes to limit the damage," said Meindl.

Which is why Meindl will continue his research to look for solutions in an ever-changing world.

"Climate is changing, road salts are being introduced into environments, excessive pesticides, herbicide and fertilizer use, and agricultural landscapes are impacting native communities. So increasing the complexity of studies are really important. Understanding how multiple stressers can interact to effect natural ecosystems," said Meindl.

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Binghamton University research highlights ecosystem problems, can it be managed? - WBNG-TV

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