CEE ENV/WR Seminar: Victoria Rexhausen
Title: "Urban Ecohydrology and Impervious Connectivity"
A rapidly urbanizing world is adding unprecedented stress to water resources. Anthropogenic influences to biogeochemical processes are well documented through nutrient pollution and resultant eutrophication in downstream ecosystems. Understanding how to predict and quantify nutrient flux through an urban watershed is of great need for water resources engineering, but the unpredictable nature of the nitrogen cycle makes this a particular challenge. In addition, little research has been published about how impervious conveyance of storm water spatially and temporally impacts biogeochemical cycling and the microbial communities responsible for nutrient transformations. This project explores how impervious connectivity may be used to quantify and predict ecological processes and nutrient behavior in urban watersheds. Over 200 baseflow, storm event, and runoff samples were taken from a partially forested urban watershed in South Knoxville for metagenomic 16S rRNA metagenomic analysis and stable isotope analysis of nitrate and sulfate. We will discuss application of these methods to verify flow paths predicted by Effective Impervious Area and the effect of land use on δ18O and δ15N values of nitrate in urban storm water samples.
Victoria Rexhausen is a PhD student in Water Resources Engineering and recipient of the Tennessee Fellowship for Graduate Excellence. She completed her undergraduate degree at Mercer University in 2018 in Environmental Engineering with a minor in engineering for development. Rexhausen’s research interests include ecohydrological approaches to freshwater management and bioremediation. Her dissertation research applies hydrology, microbiology, and biogeochemistry techniques to investigate the implications of impervious connectivity on urban eco-processes and to improve watershed pollutant modeling. Victoria has led an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate students to win an EPA People Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Award for a gray water filtration and reuse system, as well as served on an award-winning research team which developed a mercury aerosol capture and reuse system for artisan gold miners in South America. In her free time, Victoria mentors Girl Scouts in ecological stewardship and outdoorswomanship as the outdoor coordinator for the Knoxville service unit.
Thursday, October 14 at 2:50pm to 4:05pm
John D. Tickle Engineering Building, 402
851 Neyland Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996