KU Water Research Group Participants and General Area of Research Interest
Dr. Alexander studies the ecology and evolution of plant-pathogen interactions; hybridization between crop and wild plants; and long-term demography of rare prairie plants.
Airborne Remote Sensing
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Informatics and aquatic ecology; CPCB data manager for aquatic collections, aquatic nutrient and chemistry data, and bioassessments of waterbodies.
Effect of produced water on fracturing fluid properties, this includes the effect of produced water on: 1) the rheological properties of the fracturing fluids, 2) fluid loss behavior of fracturing fluids, and 3) fracture conductivity. In addition, the re-injection of produced water to improve oil recovery which includes 1) experimental measurement of incremental oil recovery using water with modified composition and modeling of incremental oil recovery due to modification of water composition.
Aquatic entomology and invertebrate taxonomy; algal identification; curation; student training in insect identification.
Heat and mass transfer; GW-scale power generation; cooling towers.
Global change biology.
Aquifer characterization at the field and regional scales; geostatistical data analysis and modeling; inverse problems; statistical classification techniques; scientific programming.
Research in the Bowman-James group involves the strategic design organized molecular frameworks as selective receptors for anions and as ligands for transition metal ions. Our interest in these areas stems from potential environmental and biological applications in sensing, separations, catalysis, and biomimetic chemistry.
My research interests and activities are multidisciplinary, involving atmospheric science, remote sensing, and glaciology. In particular, my work involves instrument development, conducting airborne and surface-based field experiments (mainly in Greenland and Antarctica), and validating the field measurements using ice core analyses, snow pit data sets and numerical weather forecast model data. Most of my current research is related to the study of ice sheet response to global warming, the current mass balance of the ice sheets, and the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise. This research has a high degree of societal relevance, as our work has estimated that a 1 meter rise in sea level would displace more than 100 million people worldwide.
Research interests include studying multi-scale groundwater/surface water interactions through field investigations and integrated surface/subsurface flow and solute/energy transport models. Currently working with other KU researchers to develop tools to better understand how changing climate conditions and human activities affect watersheds in Kansas.
I am broadly interested in working with hydrology experts and atmospheric scientists to use our understanding of land use change in regions of intensive agriculture and assess together the impacts of land use governance systems on water availability, water quality, and precipitation.
Investigate biosphere-atmosphere interactions of water and carbon using a variety of remote sensing, surface measurements (eddy covariance flux tower observations), and modeling approaches. Interested in the role of surface heterogeneity of vegetation and soil moisture on these exchange processes as well as the response of vegetation to water limitation and coupled interactions of meteorology and phenology.
Dr. Burgin's research integrates across the fields of microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and aquatic ecosystem ecology.
Senior Scientist and Chief of the Geohydrology Section of the Kansas Geological Survey. Current research interests include high-resolution subsurface characterization, well responses to natural stimuli, impact of groundwater development on the High Plains aquifer, and the role of phreatophytes in stream-aquifer systems.
She is an expert in the diversity and evolutionary biology of Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles) with a research focus on insect defenses, subsociality, immature insects, and species interactions. Within Chrysomelidae, several groups have become aquatic or sub-aquatic, spending part of the life cycle in aquatic habitats. Chaboo's primary fieldwork sites are in Namibia and in Peru's Amazon which present extremes of water availability.
Dr. Chao's research interest is in the areas of estimation, control, and dynamics of unmanned aerial vehicles. Dr. Chao is one of the key developers of AggieAir UAS, a small low-cost UAV platform for remote sensing applications. AggieAir UAS has been used by Utah Water Research Lab (UWRL) for multiple research projects on agriculture and riparian applications such as invasive habitat monitoring. Dr. Chao's current research is focused on small/micro UAV development for remote sensing and atmospheric researches, vision-aided navigation, wind/gust estimation, and cooperative control of unmanned systems.
Research interests center on examining the determinants and implications of environmental decision making. Recently she has been exploring what factors drive state and local investment in the nation’s clean water and drinking water infrastructure. She is also interested in understanding enforcement patterns underlying water quality regulation.
Coordinates a statewide database on the rare species and natural communities of Kansas. Information from this database is available to assist in research, conservation planning and environmental review.
Aquatic ecology including lake and reservoir ecosystems; the effects of stressors on aquatic ecosystems; vertical distribution of water quality conditions in thermally stratified water bodies; in situ methods to determine cause and effect in aquatic ecosystems; reservoir condition and assessment.
I have active research programs examining the reactivity and permeability of granular iron used for groundwater remediation (permeable reactive barriers), and other in situ remediation technologies such as denitrification with a nutrient injection wall. I am also developing methods of characterizing porous media in situ, such as the direct measurement of groundwater velocity with point velocity probe (PVP). In addition, I am a co-investigator on a project that uses hydraulic tomography to characterize the subsurface(with Principal Investigator Carl McElwee, also in the Dept. of Geology at KU). These projects offer opportunities for graduate studies in hydrogeology with emphases on site characterization, groundwater remediation, and fate and transport of contaminants in groundwater.
Interpreting high-resolution satellite imagery to investigate the impacts of urban development on aquatic ecosystems, and hydrologic modeling; development of real-time, integrated remote sensing, GIS, and GPS systems to complement emergency management and disaster relief operations. Project Coordinator for the Kansas Biological Survey’s Kansas Urban Water Quality Restoration and Protection Initiative.
Water is both a political and theoretical concern in my work on environmental literature and rhetoric. While conducting field research on discourse in disaster politics in Southeast Asia, focusing especially on an industrial disaster in East Java that has displaced nearly 50,000 people and polluted local land and water systems, Drake has become interested in several political issues related to water. These interests orbit around general questions about water rights, technical expertise in water management, and the influence of political and economic dynamics on the production and circulation of water. This work is informed by a host of disciplinary perspectives, including political ecology, disaster studies, science and technology studies, and the green humanities. Theoretically, water also provides a productive trope to imagine socio-natural circulations (e.g., capital, commodities, waste, and much more) across not only geographical and cultural scales but also disciplinary boundaries. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected in this era of globalization, it is crucial to understand both material and figurative flows of nature and power in order to best combat the myriad ecological crises facing the world today.
Research interests include compliance with effluent limits imposed on wastewater point sources permitted within the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, monitoring and enforcement efforts to assure this compliance, implementation of Best Management Practices by nonpoint wastewater sources, and agricultural irrigation from ground and surface water.
My interests in water lie in two areas: Irrigated cropland mapping and monitoring and flood inundation modeling for disaster management.
Dr. Fowle is a biogeochemist whose water related research focuses on water quality in lakes and wetlands. Specifically he has actively investigated nutrient dynamics (e.g. N and P) and toxic metal cycling in lakes. He also has expertise in the production and cycling of methylmercury in wetlands and reservoirs.
Aquatic and terrestrial plant systematics; floristics; collection-based informatics.
Gregg examines the intersections between agricultural production and environmental change. Her first book, Managing the Mountains, examined the evolution of land use planning in the Appalachian region. Her current research focuses on the unanticipated consequences of the 1862 Homestead Act, particularly the impact of “free land” on homesteaders and its role in precipitating the development of federally-funded infrastructure for the American West.
Composite materials and structures
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Experimental stress analysis
He is interested in the economics/political economy of water: property rights, allocation among uses, water markets, water as a factor in economic development.
Dr. Hill's research focus is hydrogeology; computer simulation of natural systems; inverse modeling, uncertainty, and risk associated with environmental systems; and how science and public policy inform one another. She is working with the KU interdisciplinary Energy and Water Initiatives.
Geographic information systems and remote sensing for ecological monitoring and wildlife habitat assessment; develops and coordinates the Kansas Natural Resources Planner.
Aquatic ecology and entomology; quantification of human disturbances on aquatic ecosystems.
Quaternary geology (~ last 2 m yrs), geomorphology (esp. aeolian (wind) and fluvial/alluvial (water) processes); landscape response to climate change.
Statistics and numerical analysis; floodplain and flood inundation modeling and mapping.
Natural resources management, planning and conservation.
Plant community ecology and botany; riparian and wetland restoration; ethnobotany.
As director of the Biodiversity Institute since 1995, Krishtalka has fostered international research on the life of the planet, on using biodiversity informatics to bring global biodiversity information into currency for science and society, and on science and public policy for understanding and forecasting environmental phenomena for sustainable solutions.
Research Interests: Superomniphobic Surfaces, Liquid-liquid Separations, Self-healable Coatings, Patterned Surfaces. In our laboratory, we fabricate, characterize, and implement functionalized surfaces with special wettability for a wide variety of applications including separation membranes, super-repellent and self-healable coatings.
My research focuses on travel behavior, policy, and planning issues in urban transportation. My primary current research project involves the study of policies, perceptions, attitudes, and travel behavior effects on electric vehicle usage, including a survey of urban residents across the US and an informational intervention project. Additional research includes developing a cost-benefit framework that considers sustainability in transport, the effect of public transit on oil dependence, the relationship between transit planning and land-use, using time-geography to measure transit accessibility, and measuring spatial variability in factors that influence travel behavior. I've also done extensive work on the effect of gasoline prices on public transportation, which was the focus of my dissertation. Previously published works also include studies on the renaissance of rail transit in the US and the spatial variability of changes in travel behavior related to rail infrastructure. I frequently employ quantitative methods and GIS in my work.
Dr. Lei's research aims to develop efficient computational methods and models to solve new problems in transportation, urban planning, mobility and accessiblity, water resources and sustainable development. He also has a keen interest in Remote Sensing as well as in advancing GIS technology itself in data structure and dababases, computational geometry, web services, software engineering, and open-source technology.
Primary Research Interests:
Primary Research Interests:
Radar systems for ice sheet remote sensing
Advanced Radar signal and array processing
Radar data analysis and interpretation
Primary research interest is in mapping water resources and understanding hydrological processes and the interactions between human and environment through the use of water resources. Current research involves developing computational methods and tools for event analysis in spatiotemporal hydro-meteorological datasets, remote sensing of snow/glaciers, snow/glacier-melt runoff modeling in mountain watersheds, spatial optimization, and parallelization of spatial analysis algorithms.
Research focused on water resources development and management in Kansas. Specific topics include: 1) development of new methods for more effective site characterizations, 2) modeling investigations of groundwater resources availability and sustainability in Kansas, and 3) field and modeling assessments of aquifer storage and recovery in near-surface aquifers.
Dr. Loecke's research examines how ecosystem management and environmental variability influences soil, water, and air quality. This allows him to work at the intersections of food, water, climate, and energy. Currently, he is focusing on the causes and consequences extreme biogeochemical events, such as how storms affect water quality and greenhouse gas emitted from soils. Additionally, he collaborates with scientists from across the county to estimate the role of soil in the global carbon cycle.
Senior Scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey, and a Courtesy Associate Professor of Geology. Sedimentary geologist specializing in stable isotope geochemistry and paleoclimatology, and directs research programs on scientific drilling in the High Plains aquifer of western Kansas.
While working at LBNL her environmental interests were channeled into eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union through the lab and the Stockholm energy institute. Although interested in environmental issues, the political and ideological impact on the built environment in Estonia trumped my research on wood burning and shale oil consumption…consequently, I became focused on the politics/political ideology of the built environment. She however is also very concerned about global climate change and human-behavior impacts and has continued research on energy and energy – water issues.
Research interests are in water-rock reactions affecting groundwater chemistry; dynamics of CO2 in shallow groundwater, origins of trace elements in oil- and gas-field brines; use of unconventional light stable isotopes as tracers of brines and water-rock reactions; and water security in water-scarce regions, both in terms of quantity (the functioning of ancient water-supply systems called qanats or karezes) and vulnerability to contamination.
Remote sensing and entomology
Clouds are a crucial component of the global radiation balance and constitute a fundamental part of the hydrological cycle by transforming water vapor into precipitation. Our research focuses on understanding cloud dynamic and microphysical processes, precipitation mechanisms, and regional climate.
Interested in further developing research on flood control and building the dam and reservoir system in the Kansas River basin.
Mammalogy, population biology, and Geographic Information Systems
His work examines the ways representations of environment and natural experience have historically influenced environmental politics and the constructions of race and gender.
Environmental law, energy law, climate law and policy, administrative law, sustainable development, environmental justice, land use and natural resources law
Research interests include: political environmental issues in the Caucuses and Caspian Sea area; environmental security and vulnerability; environmental conflict.
Her research interests include collaboration among states and counties concerning water governance for the High Plains Aquifer.
Research interests that include the relationships amongst water, energy and carbon (aka the “Water/Energy/Carbon Nexus”). Professional interests include the techniques (e.g. Living Machines) by which the built environment can be designed to: reduce the use of water, reuse the water we can, recycle water back to nature in order to restore healthy hydrological processes.
Parr does research in the areas of flood plain hydraulics, sediment transport, bridge scour, stream stability and hydraulic modeling. Recently he has concentrated on 1- and 2-dimensional modeling of steady and unsteady flow in streams due to dam break and to natural design storm events. His dam break research has been in collaboration with scientists at the Kansas Biological Survey.
He teaches, conducts research, publishes, and consults in water allocation law. Most of his work has been Kansas-based—articles on special water districts, transfers and changes in water rights, movement of water, property rights in water, and condemnation of water rights. Some has been in international comparative law (India and China).
Peltier’s primary research focus is the study of persistent contaminants (particularly metals and organic pollutants) in environmental systems. His research group looks at the chemical reactivity, long-term fate and removal of these compounds in natural waters and engineered systems such as wastewater treatment plants. His team also investigates the use of ecologically-based treatment processes to improve the quality of storm water and other nonpoint source runoff.
Characterize the produced water while simultaneously developing new methods for the remediation of produced water, initially focusing on the removal of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs). Analytical Chemistry research background.
Research interests include developing geospatial products and research methods for water use and water quality research. Previously used remotely sensed and geospatial data to assess regional watershed condition and to produce crop and irrigation status maps. Currently creating a database of potential wetlands and playas in Kansas.
My research areas reflect my interest in mesoscale features including low-level jets, coastally trapped wind reversals, and coastal lows. I also investigate the synoptic and large scale influences on the lower atmosphere with special attention to the response of the marine atmospheric boundary layer. These topics are explored through observations (including several field campaigns that involved aircraft and radiosonde measurements) in conjunction with numerical simulations.
Research interests include: 1) control of naturally occurring and synthetic chemical contaminants in public water supplies through source control, conventional treatment, and advanced treatment technologies, 2) trace organic contaminants in drinking water, including disinfection byproducts, pesticides, taste- and odor- causing compounds, and algal toxins, 3) physical/chemical water treatment processes, including coagulation, lime softening, activated carbon adsorption, disinfection, oxidation, and various membrane processes, especially with respect to their use in removing trace contaminants from drinking water, 4) water treatment plant design, 5) lake and reservoir management as it pertains to water supply & quality, 6) water recycling and reuse for potable and non-potable purposes, and 7) sanitation and other environmental concerns in developing countries.
The goal of my lab’s research is to mechanistically understand and predict the consequences of human impacts such as global warming and habitat fragmentation on populations, communities, and ecosystems. We use mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches, and I collaborate widely with field and laboratory workers to explain observations and confront theory with data. Past work has examined systems including the Amazon, estuaries and lakes, soil, geothermally heated streams, marine systems, and experimental aquatic mesocosm and microbial systems, and has focussed at scales from local to global. Specific interests include: variation in and causes of food web and community structure; inference for mechanistic ecological models and prediction in ecology; metapopulation synchrony and its causes; historic patterns of habitat loss and their present-day consequences; climate warming, competition, and body size shifts in ectotherms; marine biodiversity and biogeography; climate change, demography, and extinction risk.
Invertebrate zoology; freshwater crustacean systematics and ecology; playa wetland ecology and conservation; mosquito and arbovirus surveillance and monitoring; rare and endangered aquatic invertebrates; aquatic bioassessment.
Areas of Research:
Hydrology and Hydrologic Prediction
Land Surface Modeling and Uncertainty
Remote Sensing of the Water Cycle
Seasonal Prediction for Water Resources Management
Russell's research synthesizes environmental history, American history, global history, history of technology, and science.
In the field of design computation, her research focuses on building retrofits and architecture performance modeling, including parametric modeling and energy simulation. Her courses promote student investigation of sustainable strategies in architecture.
Diversity, taxonomy, and distribution of aquatic insects, particularly beetles. Development of bioinformatics tools and resources from museum specimen data.
Expertise in terrestrial depositional systems, paleopedology, and ichnology at the Kansas Geological Survey. Currently the PI on a NSF funded research project examining the stratigraphy and depositional history of the High Plains aquifer system in western Kansas.
Biodiversity Curator of Fishes; evolution of freshwater and marine fishes; conducted biotic inventories of freshwater habitats and helped develop conservation strategies for threatened freshwater environments in developing countries.
Dr. Stachnik is an atmospheric scientist with a broad interest in clouds, climate, and precipitation. His recent work has focused on tropical meteorology including the dynamics and variability of the large-scale Hadley circulation, quantifying diabatic heating for tropical and subtropical cloud regimes, and investigating fundamental processes related to the propagation and maintenance of the Madden-Julian oscillation. Using observations and models, he is especially interested in weather and climate interactions that may help improve weather forecasts and reduce model uncertainty for both current and future climates.
Leigh Stearns studies outlet glacier dynamics in both Greenland and Antarctica, using satellite remote sensing techniques, field based observations, and numerical modeling. Her research addresses questions of short- and long-term ice sheet dynamics by utilizing innovative geophysical technology, developing new remote sensing products, and building numerical ice-flow models.
Stock is an environmental and rural sociologist with a primary focus on farmers' values and practices and alternative agriculture. More specifically, those interests revolve around agriculture, food, the environment and morality, and their intersections. He is an editor on the recent volume Food Systems Failure (Routledge, 2011) that uses the most recent international food crisis as an entry to exploring the rhetoric of how to feed the world compared with the reality of global hunger and large scale agriculture. His current research falls under the umbrella of Food Utopias as a trans disciplinary project at KU and internationally to examine the trajectories of global food.
I am an isotope hydrogeologist interested in defining and understanding the complex relationships between chemical, physical, and biological processes that determine a fluid's origin and evolution through the water cycle at a variety of time and spatial scales. Recently, I have focused on cold, arid and semi-arid regions
Susan Stover is a professional geologist and environmental scientist with experience in contamination remediation, groundwater development and conservation policies. She is manager of High Plains Issues at the Kansas Water Office, which involves strategic planning for the High Plains aquifer, and undertakes hydrologic and economic modeling to help direct preferred management options. Stover is chair-elect of the Geological Society of America’s Geology and Public Policy Committee, serves on the planning committee for the National Ground Water Association’s 2014 Summit, and is on the Kansas Water Research Institute Committee. She holds a B.A. in geology and anthropology from the University of Nebraska and an M.S. in geology from KU, and did additional graduate work at Louisiana State University and the University of Arizona.
Research centers around microbiological processes involved in wastewater treatment, water quality impacts, public health, and recently sustainable biofuel resources. This work has taken two forms: (1) coupling nutrient removal from municipal wastewater with the production of an algal feedstock for biofuel production; and (2) modeling how agricultural land-use change with increased production of biofuel crops (corn, soybean, sorghum, etc...) will impact the availability and quality of water in Kansas
As an ecohydrologist, I am interested in investigating the interactions between climate, vegetation and geology on freshwater resources over different temporal and spatial scales. My research focuses on understanding how biological and physical feedback mechanisms influence hydrogeochemical conditions across ecosystems. Research questions revolve around: (1) understanding the influence of plant-groundwater-vadose zone interactions on groundwater solute transport and weathering, (2) utilizing long-term hydrologic and meteorological data to quantify the affects of human modifications and climate on water budgets, and (3) determining the influence of critical zone hydrodynamics on weathering processes. I rely on tracers (e.g. stable isotopes and major ions), examination of physical parameters (e.g. groundwater and surface water levels, sap flow and soil moisture), characterization of hydrologic properties, as well as geochemical and hydrologic modeling and spatial analysis to identify these interactions.
Aquatic community through macrosystem ecology of rivers and wetlands; applied and fundamental research.
Research Interests: Intellectual property, patent law, innovation law, biotechnology, biolaw, food and drug law, biodiversity law, climate change law, international environmental law.
Research interests are in applied geophysics (exploration geophysics; hydrogeophysics; biogeophysics) and the development of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and high-resolution seismic imaging methods. Recent research has focused on the geophysical characterization of the fluid-flow properties of fractured rocks, monitoring microbial processes in contaminated aquifers, and imaging of heterogeneous carbonate reservoirs in Kansas such as the Mississippian and Arbuckle.
Research Interests: Environmental and Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Behavioral Economics, and Applied Microeconomics.
Vanderveen is a glaciologist interested in the dynamics of fast-moving glaciers and ice streams. His research focuses on using measurements of ice velocity and geometry to identify mechanical controls on glaciers and how changes in these controls affect glacier flow and stability. More recently, his research has expanded to studying snow and ice melt in the Himalayas and how climate change may impact discharge of rivers originating in glacierized mountain regions.
Research interests that examine the conditions that impel or constrain innovative sustainability practices, especially at the local government level. Recent studies related to water include analyses of storm water management planning, and farmer perceptions of water quality in Kansas.
Conducts research in water resources geochemistry and hydrogeology. Studies include water quality of regional aquifers and stream-aquifer systems, geochemical identification of salinity sources, and participation in a team at the Kansas Geological Survey that models Kansas aquifers.
Research interest includes GIS application development and data assessment, analysis of Kansas water rights, and water resource management at the state and local levels.
Hydrology, Watershed Modeling, Frequency and Trend Analysis in Hydrologic Records, Radar-Rainfall Estimation, Stream Erosion, Reservoir Sedimentation, Storm water Treatment Systems (Bioretention, Constructed Wetlands), LiDAR, and GIS.
A geophysicist using mainly geoelectrical techniques and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study biogeochemical transformations in different porous media/rocks at various scales, characterize petrophysical properties of porous media/rocks, and investigate fluid-mineral interfacial processes. Interested in understanding and describing the complex relationships between hydrogeological/biogeochemical parameters and geophysical signatures.
Water resources and circulation: hydrodynamic simulation of circulation; water processing: water/bubble interaction device; flow in porous media and water filters.