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Project title: 'Ocean on Acid'

Perham senior Jon Coleman received an honorable mention award at the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering and Environment Project Olympiad held in Houston, TX April 15-20.

ISWEEEP is an International science fair competition which has over 450 competitors from 40 states and 60 different countries. Participants compete for $400,000 dollars in cash and scholarships.

The honorable mention earned Coleman $200. He is the second Perham student in the last several years to qualify for the prestigious competition. Perham graduate Audrey Huwe earned a trip to the event three years ago.

Jon qualified for the ISWEEP from the Minnesota Western Regional Science Fair and later won a silver medal (2nd) in the Environmental Science category at the Minnesota Academy of Sciences State Science Fair.

His project was titled "The Ocean on Acid" and it examined the effects of increasing carbon dioxide levels on marine snails and the effects of increasing carbon dioxide levels on crustaceans

"This is an especially important avenue of research because the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels continues to rise every day," said Coleman. "And the effects of these increasing levels of carbon dioxide is increasing acidity of our oceans, lakes and rivers."

"Jon did a great job and his data collection and research impressed the judges at each of the competitions he entered," said teacher and science fair coach Shawn Stafki.

"His data showed that even a minor drop in pH levels due to an increase in carbon dioxide caused significant harm to the creatures in the water, particularly the freshwater crustacean called Daphnia magna, which comprise a significant portion of the lower levels of many of our local aquatic ecosystems," concluded Stafki.

Coleman plans on pursuing a degree in engineering after graduating from Perham High School with the Class of 2010.