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Environmental Aquatic Resource Sensing: understanding our freshwater resources


Kevin Rose (NSF funded trainee; Environmental Aquatic Resource Sensing, EARS, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, IGERT) of Miami University (Oxford, OH) organized and led an international collaborative research effort in conjunction with scientists in the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) to better understand how physical processes in aquatic ecosystems affect estimates of whole ecosystem metabolism. This research uses high frequency buoy data (temperature, light, wind speed, and dissolved oxygen from sensors mounted on buoys) from 17 lakes located on 4 continents, including data generated from NSF EARS IGERT buoys. The results of this study show that although high frequency dissolved oxygen measurements are often used to estimate ecosystem metabolism in freshwaters, physical mixing events reduce the accuracy of metabolism estimates by increasing variability in sensor data. Results from this study will be submitted for publication in a refereed journal and used to improve estimates of ecosystem metabolism.

Lakes and other freshwater systems are particularly vulnerable to human impacts of many types yet are vitally important to our survival. Examination of ecosystem metabolism is one metric to use in determination of responses to anthropogenic disturbances illustrating the importance of accurate measurements. One such impact, increasing UV radiation, is reflected in the 6 August 2010 Science magazine perspective article,
When UV Meets Fresh Water, Science, 329: 637-639; authored by a co-PI of EARS IGERT, Craig Williamson, and Kevin.

In addition, Kevin has developed new methods for several novel optical indicators of terrestrial subsidies during a Summer 2010 field investigation involving Kevin and three other EARS IGERT trainees. More recently, Kevin has collaborated with Dr. David Hamilton at University of Waikato in New Zealand to develop a model to improve the accuracy of in situ chlorophyll fluorometers commonly used in aquatic environments.

EARS IGERT represents a collaboration between Kent State University (PI: Laura Leff, co-PIs: Darren Bade and Chris Woolverton) and Miami University (co-PI: Craig Williamson). The theme of EARS IGERT is multi-disciplinary research on use and development of sensors for aquatic environments accentuated with business experience and outreach. In addition to his sensor research described above, Kevin has participated in an internship with two companies that are leaders in the design, manufacture, and retail of advanced aquatic instrumentation. Through this internship, Kevin also organized the design and content generation of an education and outreach website, Kevin currently acts as an editor of the website.

Address Goals

The activities of this trainee, Kevin Rose, illustrate the learning objectives of the EARS IGERT (sensor research and development across disciplines) accentuated with business experiences and outreach/education. Kevin and other IGERT trainees are using advanced tools to address questions about the function, structure and health of our aquatic ecosystems. Through interactions with a global organization and international collaborations, Kevin helps further establish our Nation as a leader in this area.