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YPIE Scientist: Kaylie Troncoso

Research: How Urbanization Affects the Biodiversity of Macroinvertebrates in the Saw Mill River

Mentor: Joel Rodriguez

Awards: Participant in WESEF 2024

Research Location: The Science Barge


The Saw Mill River runs throughout the suburban and urban areas that make up Westchester county. Due to the distinction in population throughout the areas, it is reasonable to assume that the diversity in macroinvertebrate families would also fluctuate. Macroinvertebrates are vital to the local ecosystem, so if they are compromised the local health is as well. In order to decipher the distinctions in diversity of these benthic macroinvertebrates I will be testing 4 areas along the Saw Mill river, 2 in downtown Yonkers, 1 in Ardsley, and 1 in Chappaqua. In each of these locations there will be 2 leaf packs (in case 1 gets damaged or lost) lowered into the area. I will be examining and identifying the macroinvertebrates from those leaf packs on a rotation every week as well as collecting vital information like Temperature (water and air), pH, Turbidity, and Dissolved oxygen. This information will be put into my field book in order to keep record of my findings. My expected results are that I will find greater diversity in Chappaqua than in any of the other 3 areas. Since the bay in Ardsley is in a park, I speculate that it will still be polluted, but I doubt that it will be as polluted as either one of the locations in Yonkers. As for the 2 Yonkers locations, I hypothesize that they will have around the same level of diversity, since they are in a similar location, and they are both around the mouth of the Saw Mill flowing into the Hudson, which is very polluted. Finding the diversity and conditions of macroinvertebrates in an area can aid in bringing attention to the harms of urbanization, and lead to potential solutions/remedies.

About this Scientist:

Kaylie Troncoso is a Junior at Yonkers High School who is currently working towards her goal of becoming an international accountant. Although her college is undecided, she is pursuing her seal of biliteracy in order to support her future goals of being able to travel the world.

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