Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Contaminant transport in streams and rivers: streambeds, biofilms and water quality"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
Water Quality, Stream transport
Project Description:
Streams transport the products of erosion and weathering, as well as anthropogenic materials collected from industrial, agricultural and urban environments. While waterways are efficient transport networks, they are also important biogeochemical filters . Streams are known to efficiently retain and transform organic and inorganic nutrients. Microbial biofilms at the sediment-water interface purify the flowing freshwater. Streams are complex heterogeneous systems characterized by a tight coupling between the physical and biological template they inundate. This project will shed light on how dissolved chemical species move through riverbed sediments and their associated biofilms, with a focus on the nitrogen cycle and nitrate pollutions. Eutrophication of freshwater caused by fertilizers is a major societal issue. High loads of plant food lead to periodic oxygen depletion in receiving water bodies, causing major ecological and economical disasters. This project will inform sustainable management of water resources by providing a physically based explanation for the transport of solutes.
Expected Student Contributions:
The intern will work in the laboratory and in the field and will acquire the hands on skills needed to complete a research project. Duties will include calibrating and running instruments, recording and analyzing data as well as producing scientific communication (presentations, paper collaboration).
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Desire to learn, work with others, ability to think independently and to solve problems.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Aubeneau, Antoine
civil engineering

Student Supervisor

Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Sara McMillan