Environmental Engineering and Sciences

Project Title #1: Ontogenetic Effects on PCB Biomagnification in Georgia Coastal Food Web
Department:
Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Christine Angelini, christine.angelini@essie.ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Kimberly Prince, kprince@ufl.edu
Terms Available:
Fall
Student Level: Sophomore, Junior, Senior; 1 student in the fall
Prerequisites:  none
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912; Research credits or stipend support will be considered after one semester of time in the lab
Stipend: Research credits or stipend support will be considered after one semester of time in the lab
Application Requirements: Basic online application, resume, brief paragraph summarizing research interests; Email one pdf file with all application requirements to Kimberly Prince, Kprince@ufl.edu  Application Deadline: July 1 for fall term
Website:  http://www.angeliniecologylab.com
Project Description: This project assesses how Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) accumulation in predators may shift as a result of changes in their trophic position and the complexity of the network of prey species they consume as they progress from early to mature developmental stages. Thus I am proposing to test the relationships between predator ontogenetic stages, trophic position, prey network properties, and PCB accumulation using the red drum in salt marshes as a model system. This project encompasses both fieldwork and laboratory studies to assess how the network structure of the local food web influences the rate at which this highly persistent contaminant biomagnifies. Sampling will be conducted July-November 2016 on outgoing tide in Dean creek, Oakdale creek, and Blackbeard creek off of Sapelo Island, a known PCB contaminated region. This project provides the opportunity for an undergraduate to gain experience both in the field and the lab. Responsibilities include assisting with sample collection in the field (red drum and associated prey items), prepping sample tissue in the lab and recording data. The undergraduate will be educated in the operation of a seine net, hook and line fishing gear, gut content extraction and analysis, homogenization of fish/invertebrate tissue, as well as develop skills in boating, and in the lab, such as the ability to analyze and pay attention to detail as well as organizational skills, manual dexterity in operating lab equipment. On average, an estimated 12 – 13 hours a week, however, field season may be more time intensive.

Project Title #2: Reengineering Living Shorelines to Halt Erosion and Restore Coastal Habitat Functioning in High-Energy Environments
Department:
Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Christine Angelini, christine.angelini@essie.ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Ada Bersoza, acbersoza@ufl.edu
Terms Available:
Fall, Spring, Summer
Student Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior; 1 student per term
Prerequisites:  none
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912; Research credits will be considered after one semester of working in the lab
Stipend: Stipend support will be considered after one semester of working in the lab
Application Requirements: Resume, statement of research interest, interview with Ph.D. mentor; email one pdf file with all application requirements to Ada Bersoza, acbersoza@ufl.edu
Application Deadline:
September 12
Website:  http://www.angeliniecologylab.com
Project Description: Loss of salt marshes and oyster reefs is a problem in estuaries worldwide. This problem is particularly alarming along high-energy coastlines. To reduce wave energy, resource managers have used living shorelines, but thus far, these efforts have been unsuccessful in high-energy environments. This project utilizes engineering and ecological approaches to optimize the design of living shoreline structures across an energy gradient in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR. Responsibilities include assisting in the preparation and construction of the living shoreline structures, monitoring oyster spat recruitment at the experimental sites, and assisting in field work as needed. On average, this position has a time commitment of 8 to 10 hours per week.

Project Title #3: Red drum ontogenetic shifts in prey network structure and individual specialization mediate persistent organic pollutant accumulation.
Department:
Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Christine Angelini, christine.angelini@essie.ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Kimberly Prince
Terms Available:
Spring, Summer
Student Level: Freshman, Sophomore; 1 student per term for Spring 2017 & Summer 2017
Prerequisites:  An eagerness to learn
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: None unless selected for University Scholars
Application Requirements: Basic online application, UF unofficial transcripts, email one pdf file with all application requirements to Kimberly Prince, Kprince@ufl.edu
Application Deadline:
February 17th
Website:  http://www.angeliniecologylab.com/kimberly-prince.html
Project Description: This project tests the relationships between predator ontogenetic stages, trophic position, prey network properties, and contaminant accumulation using red drum in salt marshes as a model system. In order to assess shifts in prey network structure as red drum age, this project requires extensive time in the lab conducting gut content analyses. This involves removing the stomach contents of fish and identifying those prey items to the lowest possible taxonomic level. Based on gut-content analyses, prey species that comprise >3% of the diet for each life stage will later be collected for PCB analysis. In addition, this data, along with stable isotope mixing models, and previously published literature on red drum diet, will be used to construct food webs for each life stage. Thus this project provides the opportunity for an undergraduate to acquire the skillset necessary to conduct quality research in the lab, learn and apply federal quantitative stomach analysis protocols utilized developed by NOAA, and contribute to a critical step in elucidating the pathways by which contaminants move through food webs. This is an ideal position for someone seeking to explore their interests in the sciences and gain experience in marine biology and ecological research.

Project Title: Agricultural Waste Burning and Air Pollution
Department:  Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Barron Henderson, barronh@ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): n/a
Terms Available: Summer
Student Level: Junior; 1 student per summer
Prerequisites:  Engineering major and interest in computational modeling.
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: $10 per hour
Application Requirements: Resume, faculty interview; email resume to Barron Henderson, barronh@ufl.edu, to request a faculty interview
Application Deadline: March 1 for Summer term
Website:
  http://www.barronh.com/
Project Description: We are exploring the socioeconomic effects of air pollution from agricultural waste burning on the surrounding community.

Project Title: Evaluating the Effects of Salt Water Intrusion on the Natural Organic Matter Removal Efficiencies of Lime Softening, Anion Exchange and Coagulation Processes for Drinking Water Treatment
Department: Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Katie Indarawis, katie.indarawis@essie.ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): n/a
Terms Available: Fall, Spring
Student Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, 2-3 students per semester
Prerequisites:  None unless selected for University Scholars
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: none unless selected for University Scholars
Application Requirements: Basic online application, statement of research interest, faculty interview; email one pdf file with all application requirements to Katie Indarawis, katie.indarawis@essie.ufl.edu, to request an interview
Application Deadline: March 1 for Fall term; November 1 for Spring Term
Website:  n/a
Project Description: Determining the prevalence of salt water intrusion in source waters for drinking water treatment plants in the State of Florida, and then evaluating the effect of salt water intrusion on conventional drinking water treatment processes such as coagulation. Lab work consists of coagulation experiments on jar testers. Assistance is needed to make simple solutions, clean labware, and filter water samples. Lab help will be needed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Project Title #1: Evaluating the Raz-Rru tracer system for use in Florida Springs
Department: Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: David Kaplan, dkaplan@ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Nathan Reaver, nreaver@ufl.edu
Terms Available: Summer
Student Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, 1 student per semester
Prerequisites:  none
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: none unless selected for University Scholars
Application Requirements: Resume, faculty interview; email one pdf file with all application requirements to Dr. Kaplan, dkaplan@ufl.edu
Application Deadline: March 1 for Summer and Fall terms; November 1 for Spring Term
Website:  www.watershedecology.org
Project Description: “Smart tracer” methods such as the resazurin-resorufin (Raz-Rru) system have been introduced to quantify hyporheic exchange and microbial metabolism in hydrologic studies and provide insight as to the biogeochemical activity of stream systems in addition to hydraulic parameters describing advective transport and transient storage. However, preliminary reach scale tracer tests performed in small streams did not yield transformation of Raz likely due to insufficient residence times and inactive, homogeneous soils. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of Raz-Rru as an indicator of biogeochemical potential in areas where high rates of water-sediment exchange are expected.

Project Title #2: Development of a Laser-Based Water Level Sensor for Fine-Scale Ecohydrological Measurements
Department: Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: David Kaplan, dkaplan@ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Kevin Henson, kevinh1212@ufl.edu
Terms Available: Summer
Student Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, 1 student per semester
Prerequisites:  none
Credit:  0-3 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: none unless selected for University Scholars
Application Requirements: Resume, faculty interview; email one pdf file with all application requirements to Dr. Kaplan, dkaplan@ufl.edu
Application Deadline: March 1 for Summer and Fall terms; November 1 for Spring Term
Website:  www.watershedecology.org
Project Description: Evapotranspiration (ET) is a critical component of the global water cycle. It is the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from soil and other surfaces (evaporation) and from the stomatal surfaces of plants (transpiration). It is a critical process, but one that is difficult to pinpoint due to a lack of accurate and affordable sensor technology. One low-cost approach to measuring site-specific ET is to take advantage of the diurnal fluctuations in surface water and groundwater driven by ET in areas where the water table is close to the surface. This method requires highly sensitive equipment that is able to accurately quantify water table variation. The goal of this work is to develop and test a laser-based water level sensor (LB-WLS) to improve the estimate of ET via diurnal variation in water level.

Project Title: Engineering Sorbents for Air/Water Quality
Department:  Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: David Mazyck, dmazyck@ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Regina Rodriguez, reggie17r@ufl.edu
Terms Available: Fall, Spring, Summer
Student Level: Sophomore, Junior, Senior; 1 student per semester
Prerequisites:  Comfortable working with microbiology and chemicals in the lab. Prior lab experiences preferred, though not required.
Credit:  1-3 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: $500 per semester unless selected for University Scholars
Application Requirements: faculty interview; dmazyck@ufl.edu for an interview request
Application Deadline: March 1 for Summer/Fall terms and November 1 for Spring term
Website:
  n/a
Project Description: Traditionally when sorbents do not meet the desired air/water quality, the industry looks to alternate solutions. The intent of this ongoing research is to engineer sorbents for specific applications. Engineering focuses on improving sorbents physical and chemical attributes.

Project Title: Super-Efficient Sampler for Airborne Viruses
Department:  Environmental Engineering Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Chang-Yu Wu, cywu@ufl.edu
Ph.D. Student Mentor(s): Maohua Pan, maohuapan@ufl.edu
Terms Available: Fall, Spring, Summer
Student Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior; 1 student per semester
Prerequisites:  Comfortable working with microbiology and chemicals in the lab. Prior lab experiences preferred, though not required.
Credit:  0-1 credits via EGN 4912
Stipend: none unless selected for University Scholars; available through federal work-study program and will help apply to scholarships
Application Requirements: UF unofficial transcripts, faculty interview; email all materials in one pdf file to Chang-Yu Wu, cywu@ufl.edu
Application Deadline: applications accepted any time
Website:
  n/a
Project Description: Invisible viruses are the cause for numerous diseases, but the detection of airborne viruses has been challenging to existing technologies due to their ultrafine size. We are engineering a next-generation super-efficient sampler for airborne viruses. Such a sampler will allow early warning of a pandemic among humans or animals. It will also help better understand the role of viruses in the environment and allow development of better strategies to prevent disease transmission.