Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science Powers Researchers the "Creek Geeks" and More

Share Article

Marshall University's the "Creek Geeks" and more than 60 Other Researchers, Industry Members, and Public Officials to Present at the Environmental Considerations in Energy Conference in Pittsburgh September 2015

Creek Geeks at a Site in West Virginia

The "Creek Geeks" go to work at a remote site in rural West Virginia. Their research is applicable to the energy industry, construction, landowners, etc. (photo courtesy of Tim Evans)

We all want similar things. The air conditioner to run in the summer, the heater to run in winter, and there still to be trout in the stream when we get there with our fly rods.

Since 2011, the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES) has supported more than 60 academic researchers in energy and the environment and over 75 student researchers at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, the University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a team of graduate researchers at Marshall University, who call themselves the “Creek Geeks.”

Research Team the “Creek Geeks”
Advised by Mindy Armstead, an associate professor of integrated science and technology at Marshall, the Creek Geeks conduct ongoing evaluations of the effects of watershed disturbance on aquatic ecosystems. Although one use of their research is to alert the energy industry to potentials for stream or watershed disruption, the Creek Geeks also indicate their research is useful for individual landowners or other industries such as construction.

To evaluate how changes may affect a stream's environment, for example, the Creek Geeks locate an undisturbed “creek” and evaluate its health. Then they create a small disturbance on this same creek, measure the changes, and evaluate those changes as positive, negative, neutral, etc.

Dr. Armstead notes, regarding the goals of her research team and locals more generally, “We all want similar things. The air conditioner to run in the summer, the heater to run in winter, and there still to be trout in the stream when we get there with our fly rods.”

At the upcoming ARIES Environmental Considerations in Energy Production Conference (ECEP) Sunday, September 20 - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA, the Creek Geeks will present peer-reviewed research on watershed disturbance and also on the development of culturing methods for native Mayfly Taxa for use in laboratory toxicity testing.

Peer-Reviewed Research and Other Presentations
At the ECEP, energy and environmental researchers from ARIES’s supported universities and others will present peer-reviewed research on topics ranging from Carbon Management to Shale Gas and the Environment to the Health Impacts of Energy Development.

Additional presentations include Carl Carlson of Range Resources on technical challenges and shale gas regulation, Gary Slagel of Steptoe and Johnson on environmental challenges in oil and gas, Steve Winberg of Global Laboratory Operations Battelle on where coal goes from here, and many more.

The ECEP also features listening sessions for industry, public servants and citizens, and researchers to suggest research needs for energy and the environment.

Full ECEP conference agenda and registration details are available at

Learn more about the Creek Geeks in this feature video:

ARIES grew out of an urgent need for a holistic group to engage in transdisciplinary research on the environmental and community impacts of energy production in OH-PA-KY-VA-WV. More about ARIES at

Follow ARIES on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Contact ARIES at Dr. John Craynon, (540) 231 9462

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print