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Science Cafe to look at environmental changes on the prairie

Photo of Jon Sweetman

Jon Sweetman

NDSU’s next Science Café will discuss past environmental changes throughout the Prairie Pothole Region.

Jon Sweetman, NDSU assistant professor of biological sciences, is scheduled to present “Mud and Bugs – Understanding past environmental changes in the Prairie Potholes” Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in Stoker’s Basement of the Hotel Donaldson, 101 N. Broadway.

In his talk, Sweetmen will discuss paleolimnology, a science used to reconstruct past changes using lake mud. “Within the Prairie Pothole Region, there are millions of small ponds that dot the landscape, which can provide important information on both human impacts to the region, and understanding natural variability,” Sweetman said. “In this presentation, I’ll talk about how we use mud to understand the past.”

Sweetman will include a few recent examples that have looked at past changes in the prairies – from understanding past floods and droughts to examining the potential impacts of agriculture on aquatic habitats.

Sweetman’s research focuses on understanding the cumulative impacts on freshwater ecosystems from changes in climate, land use and other environmental factors. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, his master’s degree in biological oceanography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and his doctorate at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Prior to joining NDSU, he worked for both provincial and federal governments in Canada as the manager of Water Resources for Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environmental Solutions and as an aquatic ecologist for Parks Canada. 

Science Café is sponsored by the NDSU College of Science and Mathematics. The series is designed as an opportunity for the community to hear local scientists discuss interesting science topics in a casual setting.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees must be 21 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, contact Diane Goede at or 701-231-7412.

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North Dakota State University
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