Influence of Changing Land Use in Lower St. Johns River Ongoing Project

The Lower St. Johns River (LSJR) is a Florida Class III water body with designated uses of recreation, propagation, and maintenance of a well-balanced population of fish and wildlife.  However, during recent years, it has also been recognized as threatened, and in need of resource conservation, water quality improvement, and careful management.  The water quality of each segment of the LSJR is strongly impacted by the surrounding land use; thus, the segments vary in water quality resulting from agricultural, industrial, urban, suburban, and rural land uses. The valuable field and laboratory experiences gained with this project  provides a better understanding of the local environment, with global applications.  This study will provide insight into anthropogenic impacts on the St. Johns River and be publicized by students in the Communications Department. 


  • learn and utilize multiple field sampling, microbiology, and toxicological techniques, as well as laboratory analyses, to determine which human and environmental stressors have the greatest impact over the health and biota occupying the river;
  • be actively engaged in environmental science investigations;
  • learn to formulate hypotheses, design experiments, collect and analyze their data, and communicate their research findings via written and oral presentations;
  • gain applied research experience in the chemical and biological sciences;
  • enhance their understanding to do original experimental research; and,
  • gain experience and credentials to pursue graduate study and careers in science.  

Industry Involvement

  • St. Johns River Keeper
  • MOSH’s Water Education

Professors/Disciplines Involved

  • Gretchen K. Bielmyer-Fraser, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department
  • Melinda Simmons, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology & Marine Science Department
  • Annmarie Willette, Ph.D., Professor of Communications and Director of Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Quinton White, Ph.D., Executive Director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute

microbiological samples More microbiological samples