BiographyAdvisors: Carl Friedrichs and Jesse McNinch
B.S. Marine Science, Eckerd College 2003
I study sediment transport in the York River Estuary. Estuaries are important ecosystems, which are located in regions where salt and fresh water meet. Sediment within the York River Estuary is very small, and referred to as fine-grained sediment, or mud. Yes, mud is a technical term. The study of sediments in general has long been a focus of scientific research due to both its economical and ecological importance. Fine-grained particles can often play a significant role in shipping navigation with the prospect of channel infilling; moreover, the same sediment can be detrimental to organisms and plants (e.g. submerged aquatic vegetation) if the suspended sediment concentration severely decreases light attenuation within the water column. Overall, various chemical, geological, and biological factors influence the fate and transport of these fine-grained sediments.
Also, containments and pollutants are attracted to mud particles and often become attached to those sediment grains. By understanding the processes that control estuarine sediment transport, we are able to predict the potential locations of pollutants and contaminants.
I received my B.S. in Marine Science from Eckerd College in 2003 and majored under Dr. Gregg Brooks. For an undergraduate senior thesis, I worked with Bob Morton and Laura Moore at USGS in St. Petersburg Florida studying the historical shoreline change of Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands, west-central Florida. I then moved on to North Carolina and worked with Wilmington with Dr. Joanne Halls, at the University of North Carolina, studying back-barrier marsh habitat using historical aerial photography.
In addition to sediment transport, shoreline change, and GIS, I am very interested teaching and policy. The GK-12 program, along has helped me appreciate how scientists can best interact with the public and how scientific results can most effectively be conveyed. Today, more than ever, there seems to be a disconnect between the scientists, who make the discoveries, and the media who report scientific results to the public. Because of the GK-12 program, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to discuss a wide variety of scientific concepts and ideas, to more than 300 students. And thanks to the students I have learned just as much from them as they may have learned from me.