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Dr. Peterson's Research

My research is focused on pharmaceutical contamination in natural waters. I examine the occurrence, concentration and fate of prescription antibiotics and hormones in natural waters. These compounds enter the ground water from agricultural runoff and/or from leaking septic systems. Trace amounts of these drugs can have profound effects on bacterial and aquatic populations. I also investigate the presence of a tiny insect that occurs in the ground water beneath Hope College. These Collembola are less than a millimeter in length, and are similar to cave creatures in that they are blind and transparent. Very little is known about these organisms, except that they live in the tiny pore spaces between sand grains, 20 feet below the surface. My research work is divided about evenly (50/50) between the lab and field.