Two LSU CC&E Projects Funded by Louisiana Sea Grant’s 2022 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

April 25, 2022

Students and faculty in the LSU College of the Coast & Environment, or CC&E, undertake interdisciplinary discovery and improve our understanding of the complex interactions between human and natural systems, particularly in coastal regions, every single day. This spring, two undergraduate students who are working with advisors in CC&E have been selected to participate in Louisiana Sea Grant’s 2022 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which provides talented undergraduate students interested in pursuing advanced studies in coastal-related disciplines with hands-on research experience. Below is a snapshot of the exciting research being funded through this program.

Determining the Sediment Nutrient Role in Driving Harmful Algal Blooms in the Lake Pontchartrain Estuary 

James AndersonStudent: James Anderson, (Rumson, NJ), Sophomore, Coastal Environmental Science

Advisor: John White, Associate Dean of Research and John and Catherine Day Professor, LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences

Mississippi River diversions from the Bonnet Carré Spillway are intended to protect downstream communities from river flooding. But doing so delivers both soluble and particulate phosphorus into the Lake Pontchartrain estuary, which in-turn can result in harmful algal blooms. Recent operations of the spillway have left behind a significant pool of phosphorus in the sediments (sediment pools), which can later be released back into the water column. This research will determine how much phosphorus is coming from the sediments versus how much phosphorus is coming in from the watershed. This research will give resources managers a phosphorus budget for the estuary so that the most effective strategies can be implemented to reduce phosphorus-induced harmful algal blooms and restore water quality, protecting fisheries and human health.

Developing an Invasive Carp-Based Aquaculture Feed to Benefit Louisiana Ecosystems and Economies

Bridget SeghersStudent: Bridget Seghers, (Covington, LA), Junior, Animal Sciences

Advisor: Michael Polito, Associate Professor, LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Co-Advisor: Stephanie Archer, Assistant Professor, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

Increased commercial harvest of invasive carp – such as silver carp, bighead carp, black carp and grass carp – is the most effective way to limit their impacts on native fisheries. However, low demand and low dockside prices for invasive carp have limited the scope and size of commercial harvests. This project will determine if the quality of invasive carp harvested in Louisiana is a good source for aquaculture feed and serve as a first step for feeding trails with channel catfish.


View the full list of recipients on Louisiana Sea Grant’s website.