Stream Research Project Experience Gives Ecology Major Valuable Skills

Bailey Coder

October 24, 2019

Helping save wild trout isn’t a bad way to spend a summer.

Ecology major Bailey Coder ’20 did just that in summer 2019, working with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Unassessed Waters Initiative.

His work through our Freshwater Research Institute mainly included sampling waters to look for the presence of wild trout to further preserve and protect streams and the surrounding environment. He became more familiar with different aspects of aquatic life and testing water quality for research. 

“I learned a ton this summer, way too much to list honestly,” he says.

He was able to work on a farm streams project, in which he studied the impact of animal waste and fertilizers on streams that run either through or near farmland. Another project included revisiting streams that have recently been restored and seeing if there has been any progress. His final project focused on trout and how major floods impact trout presence within those streams.

“The work was really fun because you never know what you’ll find around the next bend, and the sites we visited were incredible but what I enjoyed the most was the guys I got to work with,” says Coder.

Coder hopes to parlay his internship into a full-time job and to become an expert in his field.

“I’m not positive right now if I’ll pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D. in the future, so I might go in a slightly different direction such as a game warden or a park ranger,” he says.