A-to-Z Index

Dan Downey

Daniel M. Downey, Ph.D.

Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
540.568.6635
downeydm@jmu.edu

Education, Honors, Awards

  • Virginia Council Trout Unlimited - Conservation Award 2009
  • Virginia Chapter AFS - Natural Resource Conservation Award 2006
  • Taylor Turner Conservation Award – Fly Fishers of Virginia 2005
  • AFS Sport Fishery Development and Management Award – joint with VDGIF 2005
  • Conservationist of the Year (Virginia Council Trout Unlimited) 2004
  • Madison Scholar (College of Science and Mathematics, JMU) 1996
  • Izaak Walton League Virginia Conservationist of the Year 1992
  • Virginia Rivers Conservationist of the Year (Virginia Wildlife Federation) 1992
  • Forest Service Fisheries Volunteer of the Year (George Washington National Forest) 1991
  • 1990 Trout Unlimited Conservationist of the Year (Virginia Council)
  • 1989 Mike Barbour Memorial Award for Conservation Education
  • Ph.D. (Analytical Chemistry) Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 1980
  • B.S. Chemistry, Madison College, Harrisonburg, VA, 1975

Research Interests

  • Environmental chemistry involving both laboratory and field work.
  • Water chemistry in surface water is studied to support projects in fisheries and ecological management.
  • Projects are in cooperation with several state and federal agencies

Research Description

Specific projects include the application of inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP/MS) is being studied for the analysis of trace elements in fish otoliths (ear stones) and other materials.  Otoliths are aragonitic calcium carbonates crystals that grow continuously during the life of a fish, develop growth annuli (similar to tree rings) that are used for age determination and uptake trace elements from their surroundings.  We are developing analytical methodology for freshwater species that are collected from streams and lakes where toxic metals (Hg, Pb, Cr, etc.) have been introduced and laser ablation for direct analysis of solid samples.  A second area of research is in the analysis of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) in natural waters.  We are beginning the study of methods for the determination of estrogens in stream water in relation to the widespread occurrence of intersex male fish found in the Potomac and other rivers in the mid-Atlantic region.  This project will be conducted with the new LC-MS being acquired with NSF grant funds.  The third area of research has been application of ion chromatography and other methods for assessment of "acid-rain" impacts.  Field data are collected for these studies for several long term projects (>20 years) and are used to help fisheries managers develop mitigation management strategies.  Students involved in these projects will collect samples in the National Forests or State Game Lands of Virginia, and return them to the laboratory for analysis.  Data thus generated are used to assess the relative impact of acid deposition on water bodies.  A fourth area of research is the study of dams and reservoirs and their effects on water quality in otherwise free flowing streams systems.  A fifth area of research that is currently beginning is the investigation of the habitat and physical makeup chemistry of the invasive species known as Didymo.  Students are expected to learn data interpretation as well as the analytical methodology involved for all the above projects.

Selected Recent Publications

  • N. C. Williams and D. M. Downey, “St. Mary’s Acid Mitigation Project:  Is It Time for Another Dose of ‘Medicine,’”  Report on Research, US Forest Service, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Glenwood Pedlar Ranger Districts, National Bridge Station, Virginia, July, 2010. 19pp.
  • A. C. Battaglia, M. A. Ellis and D. M. Downey, “Water Chemistry of Lake Shenandoah.”  Report on Research, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richmond, Virginia, July, 2010.  14pp
  • J. T. Panarra, D. J. Lundberg, A. C. Battalgia, J. L. Philips and D. M. Downey, “Water Chemistry of Horsepen Lake: Assessment of Problems,” Report on Research, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Farmville, Virginia, January, 2010. 11pp.
  • J. T. Panarra, D. J. Lundberg, A. C. Battalgia, J. L. Philips and D. M. Downey, “Water Chemistry of Cave Mountain Lake: Assessment of Problems,” Report on Research, US Forest Service, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Glenwood Ranger District, National Bridge Station, Virginia, August, 2009. 10pp.
  • S. A. Hall and D. M Downey, Analysis of Organic Pesticides in the South Fork Shenandoah River and Cub Run in Storm Runoff Events,” Proceedings of the 23rd National Conference on Undergraduate Research,  UNCA, Asheville, NC, August, 2009, CD-ROM.
  • J. W. Smith and D. M.,  “Analysis of Glyphosate in the South Fork Shenandoah River and Cub Run Following Storm Runoff Events,” Proceedings of the 23rd National Conference on Undergraduate Research, UNCA, Asheville, NC, August, 2009, CD-ROM.
  • D. M. Downey, S. L. Hall, N. M. Dugan, J. W. Smith and A. C. Battaglia, “Report on Progress for Episodic Events:  Anthropogenic Chemicals in the South Fork Shenandoah River and Cub Run,” Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Richmond, VA, October, 2008, 16pp.
  • M. L. Bender and D. M. Downey, “Response of Aquatic Chemistry in an Acid Sensitive Trout Stream from Air Pollution Control Measures,” Proceedings of the 22nd National Conference on Undergraduate Research, UNCA, Asheville, NC, August, 2008, CD-ROM.
  • B.C. Seal, G.M. MacDonald and D. M. Downey, “Equalizing Sign and Spoken Language in the Chemistry Laboratory,” Proceedings of LWD-07, First International Conference on Technology Based Learning with Disability, Session 6: Learning with Communication Disabilities, Wright State University, Dayton, OH., pp. 229-233 (2007).
  • D. M. Downey and T. M. Hampton, “Effects of Protective Limestone Treatment on Water Chemistry and Fisheries Management in Laurel Bed Lake, Virginia,” Lake and Reservoir Management, 21(4), 411-422 (2005).

Patents

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