Ice sheets have gone through periods of rapid melting, causing sea level to rise many times faster than the current rate of rise. Some of these rapid melting events have occurred during periods when ocean and atmospheric temperatures were at or just above modern temperatures. It is thought that there are instabilities intrinsic in the dynamics of ice sheet flow and melting that may cause such rapid sea level rise events, even without changing climate.
The urbanization of the coast is generating significant environmental issues, including increasing nutrient runoff that promotes eutrophication and hypoxic conditions in estuaries. At the same time, the excessive input of nutrients is also responsible for an increase acidification of coastal waters, as denitrification in sediments typically generates acidity.
Creating sustainable and resilient cities depends on understanding the properties of food, energy, water and other infrastructure networks. Ecological network analysis ENA is a tool that can be used to understand the connections between network structure, material and energy flow, and resilience. ENA is increasingly applied to both understand and design more sustainable and resilient human infrastructure.
This study seeks to develop a location independent scalable framework for Community based Sustainable Coastal Area Resilience Planning (C-SCARP).
The data-driven framework is adaptable to other locations and/or scales in the future. The proposed C-SCARP framework will make use of an adapted and expanded version of the GoldSET suite of decision support tools that incorporates multi-criteria analysis in a sustainability evaluation framework. Three distinct uses of GoldSET are anticipated:
In coastal areas, data are very sparsely available for flow and wave conditions during storm events due, in part, to the logistical challenge of deploying instruments in such conditions. The questions proposed are centered around the strength and consequences of the flow conditions during storm events and the influence of vegetation on mitigating the effects.
CO2 emission will continue exaggerating, as fossil fuels will most likely remain the major source of energy in next couple decades. The increased carbon in the atmosphere moves into marine ecosystems, making the world’s oceans more acidic. The rate of ocean acidification (OA) today is faster than any time in the past 300 million years.
Native microbial communities (microbiomes) of the vertebrate gut exert vital effects on host ecology, physiology, and evolution. This project explores the potential that the gut microbiome of herbivorous fish plays a vital role in biochemically degrading algal toxins consumed by the host fish, and therefore structuring diet choice and ecology. The student will work jointly between the labs of Drs. Mark Hay and Frank Stewart to test this broad hypothesis, likely focusing on the microbiomes of specific coral reef herbivores.
The characterization of sediment biogeochemistry at high spatial and temporal resolution is a necessary step in predicting the overall pathways and extent of hydrocarbon degradation in areas affected during and after an oil spill. However, geochemical data for sediments from deeper environments are scarce, and most studies do not measure the full suite of terminal electron acceptors involved in sediment diagenesis.
Advection and biological consumption are both important sinks for oil and gas released from natural seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. We will use a combination of stable isotope measurements and high resolution modeling with both passive and positively buoyant tracers to study the interaction between physical and biological processes in distributing and transporting the carbon released from natural seeps. We will focus on three major seep fields in the Northern Gulf with different water depths –GC185 (ca. 400 m), GC600 (ca. 1200 m), and GC767 (ca.