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Fantastic undergraduate research opportunity at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

Just the messenger about this great opportunity to get hydrology research experience at one of the pivotal locations for the development of hydrologic science working with fantastic colleagues:

Hillslope hydrology component of the Hubbard Brook REU:

We are seeking applicants for an REU position at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire.  The program is a multidisciplinary project where students participate in a research project and also engage in outreach projects designed to help develop skills in communicating ecosystem information to broad audiences. The program runs from May 29 through August 7, 2013 and all students are expected to be in attendance on the start date. Students receive a $5000 stipend for the 10-week program, as well as free housing. Food costs are paid by the participants and run approximately $42/week. Students live at Hubbard Brook Research Foundation’s Pleasant View Farm adjacent to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.

The overall objective of the hillslope hydrology project is to document varying flowpaths that water takes through soils in its journey through hillslopes on its way to streams. An REU student will work closely with a team with graduate students installing and operating tensiometers and pore water samplers, and collecting and characterizing soil samples. The approach of this project follows the emerging discipline of hydropedology, with implications for understanding water quality regulation and spatial patterns in forest habitats. (Mentors: Dr. Scott Bailey, US Forest Service and Dr. Kevin McGuire, Virginia Tech)

More information on the program and application information can found at The application deadline is February 8th.

Seeking grad students

I am seeking a MS or PhD student to conduct research focusing on urban hydrology at the watershed or stream-reach scale. Research will likely involve a significant field component, but may also include stable isotope and water quality lab work, GIS analyses, watershed modeling, or use of historical data. A specific project will be chosen based on mutual interests, but examples of possible projects include:

  • Investigating effects of land vacancy and demolition on urban watershed hydrology;
  • Quantifying effects of green infrastructure on water budgets;
  • Using stable isotopes and water chemistry to quantify spatial variability in urban stream water sources;
  • Quantifying groundwater-stream exchanges in urban and restored streams; and
  • Understanding the effects of urbanization patterns on stream network extent and hydrological permanence.

The student will be part of the Department of Geology at Kent State University. The department has over 30 active graduate students and a wide variety of analytical facilities including a Picarro water isotope analyzer, wet chemistry lab suitable for a wide range of water chemistry analyses, and soils, sedimentology, and engineering geology labs. We have vigorous ties with faculty in Biological Sciences, Geography, and Architecture, and access to the Cleveland Urban Design Collaboratory. More information on the Department of Geology can be found at:

The position will begin August 2013 (Fall Semester) and support will be a combination of teaching and research assistantships (including tuition and health insurance). Support is available for 2 years for a MS student and 4 years for a PhD student. Interested students should have a background in geology, earth science, geography, hydrology/water resources, or civil and environmental engineering. Strong applicants will have a solid academic record (>3.5/4.0 GPA, >70th percentile on GRE) and previous research experience. Applicants not meeting these criteria will also be considered based on a compelling letter of interest.

Interested students should contact Dr. Anne Jefferson ( by December 1st, 2012. Please send a letter of interest (including your academic and research background and specific research interests), unofficial transcripts and GRE scores, and contact information for 3 references. Completion of a formal application through the Graduate School is required by January 15th, 2013, and information on this process can be found at

More information on my research can be found at

Positions Available: Urban Hydrology and Water Quality Research Assistants at UNC Charlotte

Join the exciting Ecology and Biogeochemistry of Watersheds research group at UNC Charlotte in learning about the effects of stormwater management on urban stream ecosystems.  We are looking for one or more student research assistants for full or part-time work. This is a great opportunity for students looking for hands-on research experience and will be a good resume boost for those intending to go to grad school.

The research assistant will be responsible for helping with some or all of the following:

  • Maintaining field equipment including autosamplers, water level loggers, and temperature probes
  • Collecting discharge (streamflow) data and water samples during and following storms and wet weather
  • Assisting with sediment, water and biological sampling in the field and lab
  • Assisting with laboratory tasks, including sample preparation and analysis
  • Maintaining instrument logs and good records of field and laboratory measurements

We are searching for students interested in part-time or full-time work for the summer. There is also the opportunity to begin work immediately and continue into the next academic year on a part-time basis. Your summer schedule should have enough flexibility to allow you to participate in field work as weather conditions dictate. You must provide your own transportation to and from field sites, but you will be reimbursed for gas. Research assistants will be paid $10/hour.  While desirable, previous experience is not required for these positions.

To apply for these positions, please email your (1) resume, (2) list of relevant coursework,  (3) list of past field and research experiences, and (4) availability for full-time or part-time work in the spring, summer and fall to Sara McMillan (smcmillan at uncc dot edu), Anne Jefferson (ajefferson at uncc dot edu), or Sandra Clinton (sclinto1 at uncc dot edu).  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.  If you have questions about the work, please email us before applying. You can learn more about our group here:

We will begin considering applications immediately.

Muddy Creek: A restored urban stream and one of our field sites

Spring Break: tracer injection in Beaver Dam Creek

Spring Break: tracer injection in Beaver Dam Creek

Spring Break: tracer injection in Beaver Dam Creek

Some of our students are in the field this week, injecting Cl- and Br- into a restored reach and an unrestored reach in tributaries of Beaver Dam Creek. Our goal is to understand the role of wood jams versus restoration structures in promoting stream-hyporheic exchange.

In the photo are Alea, Xueying, and Mackenzie. Photo by Brittany. They’ve got it so capably handled they didn’t even need Sandra or I out there with them today, but I’m going tomorrow for an excuse to be in the field as much as anything.

Spring Break: tracer injection in Beaver Dam Creek

Some of our students are in the field this week, injecting Cl- and Br- into a restored reach and an unrestored reach in tributaries of Beaver Dam Creek. Our goal is to understand the role of wood jams versus restoration structures in promoting stream-hyporheic exchange.

In the photo are Alea, Xueying, and Mackenzie. Photo by Brittany. They’ve got it so capably handled they didn’t even need Sandra or I out there with them today, but I’m going tomorrow for an excuse to be in the field as much as anything.

Spring Break: tracer injection in Beaver Dam Creek

Some of our students are in the field this week, injecting Cl- and Br- into a restored reach and an unrestored reach in tributaries of Beaver Dam Creek. Our goal is to understand the role of wood jams versus restoration structures in promoting stream-hyporheic exchange.

In the photo are Alea, Xueying, and Mackenzie. Photo by Brittany. They’ve got it so capably handled they didn’t even need Sandra or I out there with them today, but I’m going tomorrow for an excuse to be in the field as much as anything.

Another Water REU at Virginia Tech

Dynamics of Water and Societal Systems

An Interdisciplinary Research Program at the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab

2012 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

June 4 – August 10

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia


Application will be Reviewed Starting February 29th, 2012


Applications are invited from qualified and motivated undergraduate students (rising sophomores, juniors and seniors) from all U.S. colleges/universities to participate in a novel, interdisciplinary, 10-week summer research program at Virginia Tech centered within the university’s Stream Research, Education, and Management Laboratory (StREAM Lab). All REU fellows will serve within several interconnected group projects dealing with issues of water sustainability, ecosystem resilience, and environmental stewardship. As our REU fellows address their specific research questions, they will be mentored by interdisciplinary faculty groups, providing them with a rich and unique perspective on their specific target issues, as well as a more mature and holistic view of watershed management.

U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents are eligible to apply. Successful applicants may be current students in a number of relevant engineering, science, and social science undergraduate disciplines. The research program is funded through the National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU) program. The 10-week internship will begin on June 03, 2012 (arrival day) at Virginia Tech and end on August 10, 2012 (departure day). The research internship includes a stipend of $4000, subsistence costs (dormitory and most of the meals) and round trip travel expenses (up to $500) per person to Virginia Tech. In addition, expenses will be covered for travel to a conference, most likely the American Ecological Engineering Society conference in Syracuse, NY (June 7-9).

For application materials and more information:

Application materials should be submitted via email to:


Research Activities: Although specific research questions will differ for each cohort of fellows, this REU will broadly focus on introducing students to the complex interactions between the natural Stroubles Creek watershed system and the upland anthropomorphic influences of the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech communities. Fellows will also be encouraged to develop critical thinking and communication skills through a series of “Society and Science” evening lectures and discussions designed to promote cross-disciplinary interactions and networking, and through the guided design of outreach activities intended to engage minority middle school students in summer science camps.

We will begin reviewing application submission on February 29, 2012. Successful applicants will be informed by March 19, 2012. Please contact Dr. W. Cully Hession (540-231-9480; or Dr. Leigh Anne Krometis (540-231-4372; for more information or with any questions. [NSF-Engineering Education and Centers #1156688]

Water Science and Engineering Research Experiences for Undergraduates at Virginia Tech and Florida

Undergraduates – Are you looking for a way to gain research experience and get an edge on grad school preparedness? Are you interested in water? Then check out these two opportunities to spend the summer studying water science and engineering.  I know a couple of faculty at Virgnia Tech, and I can highly recommend working with them. The program at Florida sounds good too. 


Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
Application Deadline February 24, 2012

Applications are invited from qualified and motivated undergraduate
students (rising sophomores, juniors and seniors) from all U.S.
colleges/universities to participate in a 10-week (June 03-August 10,
2012) summer research in interdisciplinary water sciences and
engineering at Virginia Tech. We have already graduated 36 excellent
undergraduate researchers from our site during 2007, 2008, 2009, and
2011. Application materials, details of ten Research Mentors along
with possible research projects and other program activities are
posted on following website:

Example Projects:

Natural Attenuation of Contaminants in Groundwater
Hydrology and Hydraulics Impacts on Ecological Health of Surface Waters
Bacterial Contamination of Water Distribution and Plumbing Pipelines
Water Quality for Human Health and Aesthetics
Investigation of Occurrence and Fate of Organic Contaminants in a
Watershed Impacted by Urban Development
Hypolimnetic Oxygenation:  Coupling Bubble-Plume and Reservoir Models
Design and Application of a Real-Time Water Monitoring System
Water-Energy Nexus and Decentralized Water Infrastructure
Bioremediation of Oil Spills
Analysis of Patterns of Macroinvertebrate Density and Distribution
in Strouble’s Creek

Deadline for application submission is February 24, 2012. Successful
applicants will be informed by March 12, 2012. Please contact Dr.
Vinod K Lohani (phone: (540)231-9545; FAX: (540) 231-6903; for questions

The University of Florida invites applications for an interdisciplinary research program in water resources from undergraduate students in their sophomore, junior, and senior years, majoring in engineering or related fields in science and math. Selected students will conduct hands-on research projects for eight weeks, involving field/laboratory experiments, theory, and computer modeling. The students will be distributed across Florida during the program. This unique program combines research and extension experiences in water resources to help convey research results for better water management.
PROGRAM: June 11 – August 3, 2012. Includes all travel expenses, stipend, housing, and meals.
ELIGIBILITY: US citizens or permanent residents who are in their sophomore/junior/senior year of study. Students at non-research institutions and those who are underrepresented in engineering and science are particularly encouraged to apply.
CONTACT: Mr. Daniel Preston (
Deadline of receipt is February 1, 2012.
Application form and instructions available online at

Ralph McGee and Cameron Moore will graduate next week!

Major congratulations to two Watershed Hydrogeology Lab graduate students who have finished writing their MS theses and will defend them next week. Ralph McGee and Cameron Moore both started in our MS in Earth Science program in August 2009, and less than two years later they have each completed impressive MS projects on headwater streams in Redlair Forest of the North Carolina Piedmont.

Ralph McGee will present his research on “Hydrogeomorphic processes influencing ephemeral streams in forested watersheds of the southeastern Piedmont U.S.A.” on Thursday, May 12th at 10:00 am in McEniry Hall, room 111 on the UNC Charlotte campus.

The unofficial title for Ralph’s work is “Tiny Torrents Tell Tall Tales.” Watch the video below to see why.

Cameron Moore will present his research on “Surface/Groundwater Interactions and Sediment Characteristics of Headwater Streams in the Piedmont of North Carolina” on Friday, May 13th at 9:00 am in McEniry Hall, room 111 on the UNC Charlotte campus.

When Cameron started working on this project, I had thought that the story would focus on how fractured bedrock contributed to groundwater upwelling in the streams, but it turns out the small debris jams (like the one below) are the dominant driver of groundwater/stream interactions and spatial variability of channel morphology.

Debris jam in Deep Creek

Looking upstream at a debris jam in Deep Creek

Faculty, students, and the public are encouraged to attend the presentations and ask Ralph and Cameron any questions they may have.

REU Opportunity on Stormwater Management and Ecosystem Function

A National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer fellowship is open at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. We invite applications from qualified, highly motivated undergraduate students from U.S. colleges/universities to participate in a 12-week lab and field based summer research experience. The program runs from May 23 – August 12 but start and end dates are flexible. The student will participate in an NSF-funded project studying the effects of stormwater management on ecosystem function (e.g. nutrient dynamics, biological integrity, temperature attenuation and hydrology) in urban streams. The student will learn field and laboratory techniques, experimental design and data analysis to develop his/her own research project within this topic. The student will be required to write a report in the format of a scientific paper and give a presentation on their project at the end of the summer. The student will also be encouraged to submit an abstract of their work for presentation at a scientific meeting (e.g. American Geophysical Union). The REU provides a $450/week stipend for living expenses and travel costs to the scientific meeting will be covered.

Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate institution and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Students from underrepresented groups and institutions with limited research opportunities are especially encouraged to apply. Interested applicants should send: (1) a statement of interest, (2) resume, (3) unofficial transcript, (4) one letter of recommendation and (5) contact information for one additional reference. The statement of interest should include the following information: (i) professional goals, (ii) interest in position and (iii) relevant experience and be sent to Dr. Sara McMillan (smcmillan (at) The letter of recommendation should be sent directly from the recommender (please include the applicant’s name in the subject line for emails). Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be accepted through April 22, 2011.

The Science of Streams in the City

Cross posted at Highly Allochthonous

Urban stream, Charlotte, NC (photo by A. Jefferson)

Urban stream, Charlotte, NC (photo by A. Jefferson)

It’s not as breathtakingly beautiful and soul-cleansing as crystal clear springs in forested mountains, but this is the present and future of many of the world’s streams, and the way that most people interact with their local stream and watershed, if they even think about it all. With over half of the world’s population now living in cities, and with streams serving simultaneously as water supply and wastewater disposal system for that population, there is an urgent need to understand how streams, groundwater, and ecosystems survive, adapt, or are extinguished by urban development. In a sense, urban watersheds are the future of hydrologic science, aqueous biogeochemistry, and stream ecology.

It took me moving to a rapidly-growing, sprawling southeastern city before I saw the light of urban hydrology, but the more time I spend looking at the waters around me, the more intriguing and applied questions I find myself asking. Do stormwater ponds serve as point sources of groundwater recharge? What happens to stream temperature with different styles of development and stormwater management? And what difference does that make for stream ecosystems? Does stream restoration change hyporheic exchange and surface water storage in an ecologically beneficial manner? Fortunately, not only has North Carolina piqued my interest in urban watersheds, but it has provided me with a set of like-minded colleagues and collaborators with whom I am developing new projects. This month the first two of those projects have begun to bear fruit, in the form of a new paper and a new research grant.

In an open-access paper published in the journal Water, my colleagues and I review the state of the science and identify the open questions in watershed hydrology and in-stream processes in the southern United States. We conclude that while we understand some hydrologic impacts of urbanization reasonably well, there’s a lot we don’t have a great handle on. For example, we call for more research on developing comprehensive water budgets for urban watersheds; evaluating the combined impacts of land-use and climate change; understanding how pre-urbanization land-use history affects stream response; integrating hydrologic connectivity with biogeochemical cycling; and developing a clearer understanding of the complex interactions between catchment and in-stream processes in urban systems. You can read the whole paper by O’Driscoll et al. (2010) in the open-access journal Water.

Along with colleagues Sara McMillan and Sandra Clinton at UNC Charlotte and Christina Tague at UCSB, I’ll be looking at the effects of stormwater management practices on urban headwater streams. We’re taking an interdisciplinary approach that combines hydrology, temperature, water quality, nutrient processing, and macroinvertebrate assemblages through field measurements and modeling. We’re interested in whether the flow and water quality benefits of stormwater management that are seen by comparing pond inflow and outflow actually translate into differences in ecosystem function in the receiving streams. And we’re looking for graduate students to come work with us and help us find the answers. If you are considering graduate school and are interested in hydrology, stream ecology, or biogeochemistry, check out the project description and application instructions here.

Graduate Assistantships: Biogeochemistry, Stream Ecology, and Hydrology at UNC Charlotte, NC

Come work with me!

Research assistantships are available at the MS or Ph.D. level at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to participate in a recently funded NSF project investigating the effects of stormwater management on ecosystem function in urban watersheds.  The overall goal is to better understand and predict the impacts of stormwater BMPs on receiving streams over a range of spatial and temporal scales through a combination of field based research and watershed scale ecological modeling.  This interdisciplinary project will link (1) mass-balance based monitoring of individual BMPs, (2) ecosystem processes (nutrient uptake, metabolism, temperature and biological indices) in the receiving stream and (3) monitored and modeled watershed outputs of flow, nitrogen, and carbon.

Applicants interested in aquatic biogeochemistry, hydrology, stream ecology and/or watershed modeling are encouraged to apply.  Students will have flexibility to develop independent research questions within the context of this project that broadly address the interactions among hydrology, biogeochemistry and ecology in aquatic ecosystems.

Qualifications:  degree in biology, ecology, environmental engineering, hydrology or related field is required.  Successful applicants should have a strong interest in working in an interdisciplinary research environment, be creative, motivated and capable of working well both independently and cooperatively and possess strong communication and quantitative skills. Competitive stipends and tuition waivers are available for highly motivated students.  For more information on admission requirements and deadlines, visit  Additional information about the McMillan Lab can be found at  Opportunities exist for collaboration with the labs of Sandra Clinton and Anne Jefferson at UNC Charlotte who are collaborators on the project.

Interested students with strong motivation to succeed in research should contact Sara McMillan via email (  Please submit a statement of career goals and research interests, full CV, unofficial transcripts and GRE scores, and contact information for three potential references.  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until suitable candidates are found. The anticipated start date is flexible, but should be sometime between January and August 2011.