GLOBE Alumni in Montevideo will represent Uruguay at the 2014 ISE Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Melissa Cristobal and Claudio Lacuesta, GLOBE Alumni in Montevideo, Uruguay, formed a research group called the Benthic Science Club (Club de Ciencias Bénticos), working since 2010 with GLOBE Teacher and Master Trainer Patricia Píriz and Counselor Milton Camejo, in a research project in Arroyo Miguelete one of the most important sources of water in the region. In their project "Efficiency of three macrophytes in the remediation of the waters of Arroyo Miguelete" they are applying protocols of Hydrology and performing physical chemical and biological monitoring in this freshwater stream.
Mr. Rafael Arocena, a specialist in limnology from the Faculty of Science of the University of the Republic with support of the Environmental Quality Laboratory of the Department of Environmental Development and Local Government of the City of Montevideo, is advisor to the Benthic Science Club.
Cristobal and Lacuesta report their data for Arroyo Miguelete to the World Water Monitoring Challenge (www.monitorwater.org) and on 22 March 2013 their program was named "Water Champions 2012" for South America.
The physical, chemical and biological monitoring of Arroyo Miguelete has been performed since 2010, indicating the deterioration in the quality of its waters. The students started with the idea of phytoremediation – use of plants to clean up or restore contaminated environments – to raise a clean-up target for 2013. They aimed to assess the impact of the implementation of a phytoremediation system in the course of the stream.
They designed the first research stage to evaluate the impact of three native macrophytes on physical-chemical variable of the water of Arroyo Miguelete in a laboratory to determine with certainty which species are more efficient to use on site variables. Eichhornia crassipes, Pistia stratiotes and Typha angustifolia were used, species recommended by the Scientific Advisory. Assuming that Eichhornia crassipes and Typha angustifolia are more efficient in improving the physicochemical variables of water stream than Pistia stratiotes, they conducted analysis toxicity, measurements of DB05 5, Nitrates and phosphates, conductivity, temperature and pH of the water.
Their results indicate that the three species of macrophytes have a positive impact on toxicity, DBO55, Nitrates and Phosphates, with Pistia stratiotes being less efficient in this respect, thus proving the hypothesis.
Melissa Cristobal, Claudio Lacuesta and Patricia Píriz plan to conduct a site survey in the creek to assess the development of plants under real environmental conditions, to compare to results from the laboratory.
In parallel, they are developing an action plan in the community to form a network of collaborative work with NGOs, private companies, social and educational organizations, state and neighborhoods, involving them in project management.
With this research, Cristobal and Lacuesta participated the Departmental and National Trade Club organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Innovation, Science and Technology Directorate, obtaining first place in both events in the category. They have received a special award to represent Uruguay, at the Intel ISE International Science and Engineering Fair in May 2014, in Los Angeles, California U.S.A.
The International Science and Engineering Fair Intel is the world's largest international pre-college science competition, provides a forum for more than 1,600 high school students in more than 70 countries, regions and territories to show their research and compete for over $ 4 million in prizes. Millions of students worldwide compete annually in local science fairs sponsored by their schools and countries. The winners of these events will participate in regional and state fairs with the hope of making it to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Read more about the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair here and join us in congratulating the GLOBE students of Montevideo, Uruguay for this spectacular achievement!
News origin: GLOBE Implementation Office