Summer 2020

BIO 299 Research in the Biological Sciences

Biofiltration at Brashier Pond

Student: James Henry

Professor: Dr. Lee Edwards

James Henry

Updated – August 14, 2020

Now that my Creative Inquiry experience has come to an end, I think that it is important to reflect on what I learned through the whole process. First of all, I owe thanks to Dr. Lee Edwards for all of the guidance and support she provided throughout my research. She helped me understand new concepts that I had never before considered and steered me in the right direction when I had questions (which was all the time!).

I experienced both successes and failures during my project, which I feel helped hone my problem-solving skills as well as emphasize the importance of planning in research projects. Throughout the process, I felt like I was constantly learning and having those “Aha!” moments. By the end of my project, I felt that I lived for those little moments, and it was truly rewarding to be able to solve problems as they arose during the experiments. Above all, being able to design a research experiment and see it through from start to finish was one of my greatest successes.

Going forward, I feel well-equipped to tackle a future full of problem-solving and research as I plan to enter the workforce as a biological research engineer. The tools and skills I have acquired through participating in GTC’s Creative Inquiry program have proved invaluable thus far and I can only imagine that this will hold true in the future, especially when I make it to grad school. This has been both an enriching and gratifying experience, and I am glad I chose to do it!

Beginning of summer

Hi, my name is James Henry. I am currently a student at Greenville Tech with aspirations of earning a M.S. from Clemson University in Biosystems Engineering with a focus in Ecosystems. Ultimately, it is my goal to do professional research on how we can undo the effects of climate change and preserve the beauty and health of our planet. So, naturally, when I heard about Greenville Tech’s Creative Inquiry program, it was a no-brainer this would be a great opportunity to begin my research journey.

Through the guidance of Dr. Lee Edwards, I became interested in experimenting with biofiltration. It has been noticed that after weather events, such as heavy rainfall, that one of the ponds on Greenville Tech’s Brashier campus becomes infiltrated with heavy sedimentation from an upstream creek. Through my research, I would like to determine whether or not natural biofilters, i.e. certain aquatic plant species, work well to filter out sediment particles, thus improving the overall quality of the pond’s ecosystem. I think it will be interesting to see if established biofiltration methods for small ponds can be scaled-up and applied to larger ponds.

In my opinion, biofiltration shows potential as a very important tool in the future of nature conservation, especially in biodiversity hotspots like South Carolina. Having just relocated to South Carolina from New Orleans in 2018, I could not ask for a better place to begin a career in biosystems research. I am very much in love with South Carolina’s natural beauty and excited to do my part to help preserve it.