Aquatic Intermittency Effects on Microbiomes in Streams (AIMS)
Our understanding of physical, chemical, and biological drivers of water quality are based on perennially flowing waters. However, more than half of global stream-miles do not flow continuously. These intermittent streams occur across the entire country--from western deserts to eastern forests. Despite their ubiquity, research on intermittently flowing streams is impeded by a lack of: 1) physical infrastructure designed to measure intermittency, and 2) scientific training that straddles aquatic and terrestrial ecology. The Aquatic Intermittency effects on Microbiomes in Streams (AIMS) project will address these obstacles by creating a network of instrumenting sites from Alabama to Kansas and Idaho to study the hydrology, biogeochemistry, and microbiology of intermittent streams. Importantly, these sites will also connect our large collaborative network and enable us to address key gaps in our understanding of these important systems.
Funded by: NSF EPSCoR Track II (2019603)
Ecohydrology of Coastal Plain headwater streams
In Alabama, over 40% of our mapped stream length goes dry annually. However, we know very little about what drives this drying, and importantly, how altering this drying regime impacts downstream waters. To begin to characterize these systems [and their drying regime], we have instrumented two headwater streams at the Tanglewood Biological Station near Tuscaloosa. Our research questions include:
Collaborators include Christie Staudhammer, Greg Starr, Carla Atkinson, Jon Benstead, and Geoffrey Tick
Funded by Alabama Water Institute, UA Department of Biological Sciences, and UA College of Arts and Sciences
Hydrologic connectivity and water storage as drivers of carbon biogeochemistry in wetland-dominated catchments
Worldwide, low-lying areas once rich in forested wetlands have been converted to agricultural production after draining and filling. Prior to their loss, the wetlands reduced flooding through water storage, provided downstream environments with an important energy source in the form of dissolved organic carbon, and played a critical role in regional carbon budgets. This research will test how spatiotemporal changes in surface and subsurface hydrology govern carbon dynamics in wetland-rich landscapes. Using coupled empirical and modeling components, we will quantify: (1) dynamics of surface water connections and surface-subsurface exchange at wetland and catchment scales; and (2) consequent hydrologic influences on wetland- and catchment-scale carbon dynamics. The study sites are on the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland. Our research will integrate hydrologic sciences, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and restoration science; and ultimately, help inform wetland restoration and land management across the coastal plain region.
Collaborators include DL McLaughlin, ER Hotchkiss, & DT Scott (Virginia Tech); MA Palmer (University of Maryland College Park).
Funded by NSF-DEB (2019 - 2022)