Undergraduate Symposium
Web Pages
2021-2022


Greetings from Veronica Sosa Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Vermont EPSCoR CWDD Coordinator
 

Congratulations Interns on a job well done!
Vermont EPSCoR CWDD

Undergraduate Symposium
Web Pages
2021-2022


Greetings from Veronica Sosa Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Vermont EPSCoR CWDD Coordinator
 

Congratulations Interns on a job well done!
Vermont EPSCoR CWDD



Smith College
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Olivia Colon
Smith College

Exploring the Relationship Between Financial Capacity and Town Flood Resiliency Planning Olivia Colon, Dr. Clare Ginger, and Dr. Richard Kujawa As climate change worsens, flood hazards and damage in the state of Vermont have increased and are expected to become more severe. In response to these hazards, the state has passed legislation to require town resiliency planning and incentivize town action to mitigate flood damage. Many municipalities have already revamped their plans and bylaws to increase flood resilience. However, some towns may lack the financial capacity to create adequate policies to prevent and respond to flooding. This lack of preparation can lead to property damage, environmental degradation, and loss of human life. To help towns create better policies, it is important to understand the relationship between financial capacity and flood resiliency planning at the town ...


Universidad Ana G Mendez Cupey Campus
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Igrena Aponte - Marrero
Universidad Ana G Mendez Cupey Campus

Abstract: Riverine loading of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) influences water quality in receiving water bodies. Deltaic wetlands at river mouths, such as where rivers flow into lakes, can function as nutrient processing zones, altering N and P loading to the lake. How much deltaic wetlands affect N and P concentrations depends on important drivers, such as river discharge and temperature. To understand how the Missisquoi River deltaic wetland influences N and P loading to Lake Champlain, we measured N and P concentrations at various points within the Missisquoi River deltaic wetland and in two headwater catchments of the Missisquoi River across a range of seasonal and flow conditions. Total N and nitrate-N concentrations consistently decreased as the river flowed through the deltaic wetland. Conversely, total P and phosphate-P concentrations consistently increased within the deltai ...


Universidad De Puerto Rico Recinto Universitario De Mayaguez
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Deyaneira Ortiz Iglesias
Universidad De Puerto Rico Recinto Universitario De Mayaguez

Investigating Impacts of Soil Seasonal Environmental Changes on Denitrifier Community Excess nitrogen from nonpoint agricultural and wastewater sources deteriorates water quality, triggering eutrophication. This process causes algal blooms that block sunlight from entering deeper parts of water bodies, which leads to oxygen depletion that makes life unsustainable in the ecosystem. Several solutions are being studied to understand N dynamics and alleviate its input into bodies of water. Here, we focus on denitrification, an anaerobic microbially facilitated process that removes N from soil as gaseous species N2O (Nitrous oxide) or N2 (Dinitrogen). Riparian areas are being used as buffer zones to reduce pollution from agricultural fields into waterways. They are known to have high denitrification rates due to soil environmental conditions, like anoxia and high organic carbon, which favor ...


University of Arkansas
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William Hadley
University of Arkansas

Though the Northeast US is characterized by abundant moisture and consistent precipitation throughout the year, drought events still present a threat to the environment and society of the region. These drought events are notoriously difficult to define as they are “creeping phenomenon” without clear beginnings or ends, and though drought indices have been developed to monitor drought across the US, these indices are often more applicable to the regions for which they were defined than the Northeast. As such, determining the driving forces behind drought in the region could be used to create a more appropriate regional drought index. One way to determine these drivers is through random forests, a form of machine learning wherein decision trees are randomly generated for a dataset and graded on their ability to predict a particular variable. By compiling observed and reanalysis model d ...


University Of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus
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Abdel Jimenez
University Of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus

The water quality in Lake Champlain and other lakes is a topic of concern that has impacted various aspects of the society in Vermont and has led to significant changes in essential environmental processes. The problem stems from agricultural nutrient runoff, which leads to the creation of harmful cyanobacteria blooms that lower dissolved oxygen levels in the water, worsening the water quality found in lakes and leading to the accumulation of excess phosphorus in lake sediments. Our research focuses on quantifying the environmental drivers of internal phosphorus loading on lakes, stratification and mixing patterns, and assessing the possible intervention strategies that could help improve water quality in these lakes. To achieve our proposed research goals, we analyzed high frequency water quality and meteorological data using the Rlakeanalyzer package in Rstudio. The stratification and ...


University of Vermont
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Liviya Kovacevic
University of Vermont

The Lake Champlain Basin drains an area of thousands of square miles and the water quality of the lake itself is influenced by this land. Throughout the basin, a series of smaller watersheds that have different characteristics are being monitored, and some may have a greater influence on the quality of Lake Champlain than others. However, these watersheds can be broken up into different zones, which can then be grouped using clustering methods and monitored with additional sensors. By understanding the differences in these clusters, we can better understand the factors that influence the water quality the most and figure out where to focus our efforts on improving it. We will be looking into whether spatial analysis can be used to break watersheds apart into zones and group these zones into clusters using a K-means clustering analysis to find better monitoring locations. We obtained or ...


University of Vermont
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Grant Hoffman
University of Vermont

Phosphorous loading continues to be a significant issue for the Lake Champlain Basin by causing the rapid growth of harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms (HABs). Water quality standards have had limited effectiveness in preventing phosphorous loading and HAB growth in the past and it is becoming more apparent that market-based policy could be more effective at correcting the problem. HABs must be addressed if basin communities would like to continue to use the lake as anything from a water source to tourist and recreation attraction. HAB growth and therefore phosphorous loading threaten the lake's use by the community. To find the most effective way to address this issue this research model is the economic source of the phosphorous loading and the most effective way to combat phosphorous loading. This is done by creating a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model for the Vermont watershe ...


University of Vermont
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Nathaniel Fogg
University of Vermont

Covariance structures are necessary for inference and prediction in spatiotemporal modeling applications. However, for large N problems, the direct calculation of covariance matrices is computationally infeasible. Here, we implement and provide theoretical justification for a method previously described by Douglas Nychka that approximates covariance structures in Gaussian process models. In two simulations, we generated realizations from a conditional Gaussian distribution using 1) the approximation technique and 2) direct calculation. We compared structures of the estimated empirical covariance and directly computed covariance matrices to determine the accuracy of the approximation method. We found the covariance structures from both methods were similar. Importantly, we showed that increasing the number of realizations from the approximation method by a factor of 4 resulted in a twofol ...


University of Vermont
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Kate Hoffman
University of Vermont

As the impacts of climate change continue to intensify, it is important to understand the effect of drought events on water quality. Healthy water quality in freshwater bodies is vital for the well-being of society and ecosystems. Several indices can be used to study drought; this study utilized the Standardized Streamflow Index (SSI) to identify drought events from 2001 to 2050 in Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Bay. An Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) data set was analyzed to assess the effect of drought on water quality. The IAM data set is based on four different global climate models: CCSM4 (wet), NorESM1-M (wet), MIROC-ESM (mixed wet/dry), and MRI-CGCM3 (dry) and two emission scenarios: RCP 4.5 (low emission), and RCP 8.5 (high emission). The combined RCP’s and GCM’s create 8 scenarios which serve as a basis for evaluating the relationship between hydrological drought (SSI < -1) ...


University of Vermont
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Brendan Lombard
University of Vermont

Eutrophication threatens freshwater quality and is oftentimes exacerbated by agricultural practices that produce nutrient-rich runoff. This can lead to harmful algal blooms, like those observed in Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Bay, which may grow more severe in a changing climate. Farmers can adopt agricultural best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the nutrient concentration in their runoff; however, the reported efficacy of these practices is highly variable; frequently a range of efficacies are reported for a single management practice. Furthermore, there is a lack of this kind of data in Vermont’s Missisquoi basin. These practices overlap with those used by farmers to mitigate the impacts of climate change on their farms. A database, consisting of eight BMPs, their observed reduction efficacies, and 20 variables was constructed; the meta-analysis of which provided weighted aver ...