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Friday, April 24th

Poster Number: 074

Food Security and Social Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of Four Latin American Countries

Reagan Cady, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Maria Aysa-Lastra, Ph.D.

Colombia implemented for several years a “food security policy.” However, the effects of the armed conflict on the food security status of the population has not been evaluated. There are lasting implications of armed conflict that impact the ability for a country to be food secure, whether it is the ability to be politically stable or have access to basic drinking water. This paper seeks to explain three main objectives. First, it compares the food security status of the populations in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. The former three countries suffered from periods of armed conflict or political and economic instability, while Chile serves as the benchmark for food security status in the region. Second, it explores the relation between conflict and food security status in these countries between 2000 to 2016. Third, it evaluates the magnitude of the negative impact of measures of armed conflict on measures of food security status. Using data from the World Bank Health, Homicide, Poverty, and Urban Development indicators; the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre; and the Food and Agricultural Organization, this paper will cross-examine variables relating to food security and armed conflict. Preliminary estimations indicate that while numbers of battle-related deaths and numbers of intentional homicides are not strongly associated with measures of food security, indexes measuring political instability are strongly associated with food security status.

Poster Number: 075

Remote Sensing and Decomposition Rates of Forest Succession Plots in the Piedmont of South Carolina

Dakota Shope, Winthrop University
Blake Campbell, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Scott Werts, Ph.D.

The Piedmont of the U.S. is dominated by ultisol soils, which often contain highly weathered geologic materials. Due to the diverse nature of land development in the southeastern U.S., these soils are often under a wide range of developmental stages and, especially in the surface horizons, contain a great deal of spatial variability in properties. In this study, we have begun a decompositional study of four forested plots in various stages of succession of former farmland. Litter bags containing native litter and cellulose paper were placed at each site and collected over two-week intervals in order to compare decomposition rates from site to site. Remote sensing stations were also established at each location to record differences in soil temperature and soil moisture. Initial results suggest that there is high variability of decomposition rates in between all the sites, even when controlled for litter type with cellulose paper. Initial decomposition rates were higher for native vegetation than the litter paper. The most recently established plot showed the highest initial rate of decomposition, followed by the more well established sites. Although soil temperature was higher in the lesser established plots, soil moisture remained lower in all these plots during the decomposition study as well, which may explain the slower decomposition rates.

Poster Number: 076

The Survival of the American Beef Farmer in Today’s Market


Zackary Heustess

Faculty Mentor: Louis Pantuosco, Ph.D.

Once the world’s agriculture leader, the United States has lost dominance over recent decades to international competitors, specifically Brazil. Since the number of American farms reached its peak at 6.8 million in 1935, this number has fallen drastically to 2.1 million by 2002. This paper will touch on one specific area of this field, beef cattle farming. Even with annual beef consumption continuing to increase in the United States, some developing trends might threaten farmers even further in the near future. These trends include the rapid scaling of corporate farming, the increased concern over the environmental impact from red meat, and health concerns. This paper will research how the American farmer can survive in today’s quickly changing market, with a focus on beef cattle farming. To do this, analysis of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data and scholarly articles will occur to evaluate the current status and future trends for consumption and the farming market. After thorough evaluation, recommendations for how farmers can make the necessary adjustments to survive moving forward will be presented.

Poster Number: 077

Nutrition and the Labor Market


Jesse Defalco, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Louis Pantuosco, Ph.D.

Do different income levels affect the foods people consume? It is commonly known that healthier foods are more expensive than unhealthy foods. Those with lower incomes tend to gravitate toward fast food and junk food, with those with higher incomes tend to gravitate toward fruits, vegetables, and healthier options, including having personal chefs and ordering proportioned meals delivered to their homes. Lower income people consuming unhealthy foods potentially leads to health issues such as malnutrition, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Not everyone is aware of the health side effects of their diets. It is shown that people who are less educated (and more likely to have lower paying jobs) do not know the effects of their diets as well as those who are highly educated. However, some people are still aware of the health effects of their diet but their occupation, such as being a truck driver, for example, requires them to eat on the road more (fast food). There are many statistics that need to be looked at to confirm these statements, including the incomes and jobs of people who consume fast food versus those who eat at healthy establishments. Another factor is the locations of various establishments, and the average income of the area. In conclusion, this research will explore how wealthier people have healthier options than people with lower incomes.

Poster Number: 078

The Bridge


T.J. Peeler

Faculty Mentor: Bryan McFadden, M.S.

Rock Hill is expanding. Long term projections for growth in and around the City of Charlotte mean that people will continue to move to the City of Rock Hill. Recently, the Carolina Panthers announced the purchase of 200 acres for development of a practice facility, restaurants, hotels, office space, and residential expansion. Rock Hill has hosted national competitions in numerous sports, and has recently hosted a world competition in biking. Infrastructure must be improved to help support a growing population and increased visitation. This project focuses on the location of a new bridge crossing over the Catawba River between the Highway 21 Bypass bridge and the Highway 5 bridge, which would help connect the Indian Land, Weddington, Waxhaw, and Monroe areas to Rock Hill. This bridge would promote visitation to the soon-to-be 1,900-acre Destiny Park that will be constructed at the end of Nealy Store Road. It also has the potential to increase Rock Hill's economic interest, by allowing easier access to Destiny Park, the Panthers’ practice facility, and Rock Hill shopping areas. Using geographic information systems and public data, I will investigate a potential bridge site to identify sensitive habitats, parcel ownership, and accessibility.

Poster Number: 079

Climate Change-Induced Relocation of Coastal Alaskan Communities

Sara Mulligan, Winthrop University

Although the existence, or intensity, of future climate change is heavily debated, coastal Alaskan communities are already impacted by rising sea levels and reductions in the amount of sea ice. These communities are vulnerable to severe and increasing coastal erosion, causing them to consider relocating. However, leaving a place where they have deep cultural roots and traditions on how to live off of the land that are passed from generation to generation causes significant challenges in deciding to abandon their home land. The politics, economics, and cultural aspects of climate change-induced displacement will be discussed by following the journeys of current Alaskan communities, such as Shishmaref and Newtok. In relation to these communities, possible pathways towards a sustainable future will also be proposed, with attention to each interdisciplinary perspective.

Poster Number: 080

Microplastics in the Bahamas: Tiny Plastics, Big Problem

Lauren Forsythe, Winthrop University
Norah Mendoza, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Diana Boyer, Ph.D.

A big problem the world's oceans are currently facing is plastics being integrated into marine ecosystems. The majority of the plastics found in the world’s oceans are identified as microplastics (<5>mm). Microplastics were the main focus for this study conducted in San Salvador, Bahamas, a remote and subtropical island with numerous beaches. This study aimed to provide evidence for the presence of microplastics and to quantify and classify microplastics found on Bahamian beaches with respect to grain size. Samples were taken from the following seven beaches: Rocky Point, Sue Point, Monument Beach, Grotto Beach, Sandy Point, French Bay, and East Beach. From each beach, approximately 150 g of surface sand was collected from the high tide line. A NightSea Royal blue light was used to identify and examine microplastics, as most weresize, abundance, and classification of plastic particles and fibers in the sand. The results of this study revealed that microplastics were ubiquitous, and those of sub-millimeter size were surprisingly abundant.

Poster Number: 081

Energy Conserving Behaviors among Winthrop University Students

JOSHUA ATECA, Winthrop University

This thesis seeks to answer the question, “Why do students at Winthrop University vary in their energy conservation behaviors?” The paper sets out by establishing the importance of energy conservation, followed by an introduction to consumer behaviors that conserve energy. It then attempts to explain why people conserve and makes the claim that people conserve energy at varying degrees. Finally, the thesis takes a closer look at the behaviors of Winthrop students, as revealed by original research, and compares their behavior to that of college students in general, as described by current literature. The core objective of the thesis is to draw conclusions about the conservation behaviors of Winthrop students, and to make recommendations for improving educational content and strategies that foster increased student engagement in energy conservation.

Poster Number: 082

Updating of USGS Data for Large Scale Land Use Analysis

Sara Mulligan, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Bryan McFadden, M.S., and Scott Werts, Ph.D.

Geospatial technologies are tools that can be used to map, measure, and monitor data about the surface of the earth. Data can be collected from satellite and aerial sensors, or locally from field observations. Combining these various pieces of information allows for the creation of a detailed, large-scale dataset that can be used to better understand local area patterns and issues. Highly detailed geographic datasets can be analyzed to track change over time and better understand the impacts of land-use change. This project will consist of integrating various geospatial datasets acquired from federal, state, and local entities. Specifically it will involve acquiring soil survey data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a local property and updating the information based on soil samples and profiles collected from the site. Combining field samples taken from a local South Carolina site and geospatial analysis techniques will help to update the database and allow for a more specific and detailed survey of the local soils and potential land-use impacts. The large-scale local study provides project-based analysis to be able to compare and map different aspects of soil samples such as type, drainage, and vegetation. Highly detailed information creates a more useful catalogue of soils, allowing for widespread use of the updated, more accurate data.

Poster Number: 083

Methods for Mapping Algal Blooms: Do They Produce Similar Results?


Paige Denney

Faculty Mentor: Bryan McFadden, M.S.

Algal blooms occur when there is an overabundance of algae in a freshwater or saltwater body. Algal blooms often have negative effects on human health, the environment, and the economy. They increase during summer months due to heightened water temperatures. With the climate warming gradually, the occurrence of algal blooms will likely increase. Mapping algal blooms using geospatial data and analysis methods is incredibly important to understanding where algal blooms happen and how they have increased over time. In my research project, I use geospatial data to map an algal bloom in Lake St. Clair, Michigan. My data originate from the satellite Landsat 8 and were collected on July 14, 2019. I use the Blue Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (BNDVI) and the Surface Algal Bloom Index (SABI) for my analysis of the data. I combine each of these, as well as the original data, with a supervised classification. The purpose is to determine whether similar results can be derived from each of these methods.