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Chemosphere, a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on environmental contaminants, has published a paper from the Sustainability Studies Earthworm Ecotoxicology Lab:

Pochron, S., Fiorenza, A., Sperl, C., Ledda, B., Patterson, C., Tucker, C., … & Panico, N. (2017). The response of earthworms (Eisenia fetida) and soil microbes to the crumb rubber material used in artificial turf fields. Chemosphere.

The team leader on this research project was a BIO/EHI student, Andrew Fiorenza, who graduated in December. The team also included bio major, Clara Tucker, engineering majors, Charles Patterson and Nick Panico, and three students from Miller Place High School: Brianne Leda, Cassandra Sperl and Wade Tucker.

Over the summer of 2016, the team examined the effects of the crumb rubber used in artificial turf athletic fields on soil contamination, microbial activity, and earthworm health. The high school students spend a lot of their free time on artificial fields, which use crumb rubber made from recycled tires. One of the students, a soccer goalie, worried about the crumb rubber because he eats a lot of it when he dives to save the ball. They found that crumb rubber caused earthworms to lose weight and increased zinc levels in contaminated soil.

The Sustainability Studies Earthworm Ecotoxicology Lab focuses on student-run research. These remarkable students helped design methodologies, set up the projects, collected the data, and came up with the original idea. Congratulations on their impressive achievement!

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