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Measuring and Modeling Connectivity Along River Corridors

Primary Investigator:
Jesus Gomez-Velez
Brief Description of Project:
Rivers are the earth’s arteries – they convey water, solutes, energy, and living organisms from the landscape, subsurface, and atmosphere to the oceans. Understanding and predicting spatial and temporal variations of water quality along these complex circulatory systems is critical for sustainability and management under present and future socio-economic and climatic conditions. In this summer project, students will contribute to an ambitious effort to characterize the connectivity of channels with subsurface and surrounding environments along the main stems of the Mississippi River Basin. We will combine high-resolution physical and chemical observations, environmental tracers, and mathematical modeling. Students will gain experience with state-of-the-art sensors for water quality and modeling, data mining, and assimilation techniques.

Desired Qualifications:

  •  Experience with programing (e.g., python, R, or MATLAB)
  • Enjoy outdoors. Previous experience with field experiment would be useful.
  • Calculus and differential equations
  • Willingness to work in a collaborative and engaging environment 

Nature of Supervision:
 Dr. Gomez-Velez will serve as the primary supervisor, but this is a team effort where the students will work with a Ph.D. student and a Postdoctoral Scholar to perform the experiments and analyze the data. We will have weekly group meetings and individual meetings. 

A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Week 1-2: Literature review and data consolidation. Week 3-6: Familiarization with sensors and initial tests in the laboratory. Once the test in the laboratory is ready, we will experiment in the Cumberland River. Familiarization with the mathematical models and data processing techniques. Week 6-8: First survey from Nashville, TN, to Paducah, KY. Postprocessing of the data collected and model implementation, verification, and validation. Week 8-10: Start write-up of manuscript and presentation 

Number of Open Slots: 2
Contact Information:
Name: Jesus Gomez-Velez 
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering