Research at the Center for Environmental Research and Education

Local Research

Murphy's Bottom Ecological Project

The Murphy's Bottom Ecological Project is a habitat restoration project that Duquesne University has undertaken in South Buffalo Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Duquesne University's initiative is to effectively restore the property to its full environmental potential. Plan objectives include:

  • Maximizing biodiversity at the Murphy’s Bottom site
  • Preserving and enhancing the habitat for species of special concern
  • Focusing on enhancing aquatic habitat
  • Managing / extirpating invasive species
  • Removing debris and structures from past mining / processing activity
  • Reflecting the input of a wide array of stakeholders
  • Serving as a model for future habitat enhancement projects
  • Facilitating further study at the site

Wingfield Pines

The Wingfield Pines Abandoned Mine Drainage site is located in Upper St. Clair, Allegheny County. Since 2007, the University has been working with the Allegheny Land Trust to return the 80-acre former golf course and swim club in Upper St. Clair and South Fayette townships into a public recreation area, remediating the abandoned mine drainage into Chartiers Creek. 

Passive drainage systems use gravity to slowly drive the water through five settling ponds, plus a wetland. The water moves at a slow enough pace to maximize contact with atmospheric oxygen, which induces iron precipitation. It takes approximately 48 hours for the water to flow from its entry point in Pond 1 to the outflow point at the end of the wetland area. The 8-acre network of settlement ponds and wetlands eliminates 99 percent of the iron oxide from entering Chartiers Creek.

3 Rivers QUEST

3 Rivers QUEST (Quality Useful Environmental Study Teams) is a comprehensive water quality monitoring and reporting program, sampling all three of Pittsburgh's rivers, their headwaters, and their tributaries. The Program was started by the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University in 2009 sampling the Monongahela and has since expanded. Sampling has taken place over the past few years, with Duquesne joining the program in 2013. Read more about the 3 Rivers QUEST Program.

Student in Stream with Salamander Students Conducting Field Research in Stream Fish Being Measured

International Research

Lower Dover Field Station - Belize

The new Belize Tropical Field Station will provide a safe and secure location for students to learn in the field and conduct research alongside faculty. Here Duquesne students and faculty will have an opportunity to collaborate with the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP), universities and colleges in Belize, local teachers, government officials and representatives of NGO's. Undergraduate and graduate students are able to conduct research at this site through the Maymester program. Learn more here.

Limpopo Reslilience Lab - Southern Africa

The Limpopo Resilience Lab is supported by Water Q2: Understanding Water Quality and Quantity in the Limpopo Basin. This collaborative effort by Duquesne University, University of Venda, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is supported by a generous grant from the United States Agency for International Development, Award 72067419FA00001. This project is supported from March 2019 to March 2022 and is currently headed by Dr. David Kahler. Learn more here.

Student with Iguana Students Conducting Field Research in Stream Students Conducting Field Research in Ocean

Institutional Research

The Center for Environmental Research and Education conducts regular campus sustainability reports including Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories and the STARS Report, facilitiated by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Find the most recent reports here.

Undergraduate Research Program

The Undergraduate Research Program provides students with essential research experience fora career in the sciences or science-related fields. This program offers students the opportunity to experience science through the successes and failures of scientific research. Students are encouraged to start research as early as their freshman year, allowing them to gain as much experience as possible.

Faculty Research Initiatives

Our faculty members are active researchers in many areas, from scientific laboratory work to behavioral studies. If you are interested in participating in any of our ongoing research projects and have already reviewed our faculty interests, feel free to contact us!

John F. Stolz, Ph.D.
Director and Professor
Specializing in environmental microbiology, particularly the physiology and biochemistry of bacteria that respire oxyanions of nitrogen, arsenic and selenium, and the microbial sedimentation and lithification of modern marine carbonate stromatolites.

Dr. Plaxedes ChitiyoPlaxedes Chitiyo, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Research interests are in the areas of sustainable agriculture in developed and developing regions, sustainability, and community development.

Dr. Jan JaneckaJan Janecka, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Genomics and conservation biology. 

Stanley J. Kabala, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor
Formerly the associate director of CERE, Dr. Kabala continues to teach courses as an adjunct professor while serving as a consultant for the 3RQ Water Quality Project through the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

Dr. David KahlerDavid Kahler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Research areas include water quality, water resources management and technology to enhance groundwater remediation.

H. M. 'Skip' Kingston. Ph.D.
Fundamental research in separation science, chromatography, microwave energy application, instrument development, standard reference materials development and certification, analytical and environmental test method development, and laboratory automation including expert systems and robotics.

Brady Porter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Molecular markers to study phylogenetic relationships, phylogeography, hybridization, conservation genetics, evolution of mating systems and alternate reproductive tactics (ARTs) in natural populations of fishes and other aquatic organisms.

Kyle W. Selcer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor 
Comparative endocrinology; investigating environmental toxicants that disrupt the endocrine system, the role of steroids in reproduction of reptiles and amphibians and new drugs for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.

Dr. Nancy TrunNancy Trun, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Chromosome folding in bacteria and application-based service learning (ABSL) as an educational model. 

Dr. Sarah Woodley
Associate Professor
Effects of Environmental Stressors on Amphibian Reproduction and Health; Neuroendocrinology of Chemical Communication.