The biogeochemical consequences of salt water intrusion on freshwater wetlands
With funding from the National Science Foundation, we are examining the effects of saltwater intrusion on carbon and nitrogen cycling within North Carolina's largest wetlands mitigation project, a 400ha former agricultural field that was converted to a wetland in 2006. Our work combines field measurements of solute and gas fluxes, laboratory measurements of wetland soil anaerobic pathways, mesocosms, and simulation modeling of wetland hydrology and biogeochemical dynamics. Postdoctoral associate Ashley Helton leads the field and biogeochemical modeling components of this work. Collaborators include Amy Burgin (Wright State University), Geoff Poole, Clem Izurieta, and Rob Payn (Montana State University), and Marcelo Ardon (East Carolina University).
Previous funding from the Department of Energy's National Institute of Climate Change Research, the Great Dismal Swamp Mitigation Bank, LLC, the NC Water Resources Research Institute and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources focused on understanding the consequences of converting formerly cultivated and fertilized farmland to wetland with respect to promoting denitrification vs. generating dissolved phosphorus and greenhouse gas pollutants. Former postdoctoral associate Marcelo Ardon and PhD student Jen Morse led these efforts. This work was in collaboration with Martin Doyle (UNC), Geoff Poole (Montana State University) and Amy Burgin (Wright State University).
Environmental Impacts of Nanomaterials
As part of the Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), funded by NSF and the US EPA, we are examining the effects of manufactured nanomaterials on microbial and plant community structure and function in soils and sediments. Much of our work to date has focused on understanding how silver nanoparticles (often produced for their antimicrobial properties) affect ecosystem structure and function. Postdoctoral associate Ben Colman leads this effort. View Emily's public lecture on nanomaterials in the environment as part of the NC Museum of Life and Science's public lecture series Periodic Tables.
Environmental impacts of Mountaintop mining and valley fills
From Syndrome Diagnosis to Watershed Prescription - Is all development created equal?
With new funding from NSF Ecosystems (2013-2016) we are exploring how development configuration and connectivity (as opposed to sheer amount of development) influences the delivery of stormwaters and storm-borne contaminants (e.g., heat, trace metals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products) to urban streams in central North Carolina. We have selected watersheds that have similar amounts of their area converted to impervious surfaces but widely varying patterns in the distribution of those developed surfaces within the watershed, the age of the development (and its associated urban trees and urban pipes), and the degree to which the pavements are connected via stormwater pipes directly to stream channels. PhD students Kayleigh Somers and Joanna Blaszczak are involved with this project which is in conjunction with landscape ecologist Dean Urban (faculty in Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment).