|Project Leader:||Shishir Basant
Ecology and Conservation Biology
|Faculty Mentor:||Bradford Wilcox, PhD|
|Meeting Times:||TBA (flexible)|
This project will expose students in multiple measurement techniques in hydrology and forestry. Additionally, this will provide an exposure to working on broad impact project and to advance critical thinking skills. The undergraduates recruited will also be given opportunity to develop individual projects (for an undergrad thesis or a professional report). Through the process, they will be mentored by a postdoctoral researcher and a final year doctoral student on the process of research and developing a complete research product. Some of the specific skills you can expect to acquire while working with us: Soil coring techniques, soil moisture measurements, sensor installations, campbell scientific datalogger operations/power setup and maintenance, basic weather /micrometeorological measurements, soil root and carbon estimation
|Specific skills are not expected as we have trained students before in the skills we need or depending on the activities the students prefer to be involved in.
We do however expect students joining our lab to be motivated towards the research we conduct, sincere and diligent towards the tasks/activities they undertake or they have been assigned.
Students interested in pursuing a career related to this work or working on an undergraduate research thesis are encouraged.
Read below for more details.
A lot of our work revolves around soil sampling and soil related measurements in the lab. Even though we have successfully trained students in soil augering, sampling, root measurements – please be aware that this can be physically strenuous.
If you stay with us beyond the summer, you will get a chance to work on the samples in the lab.
Some of the main attributes we are looking for include:
– Comfortable working outdoors (if you have prior experience working in ecology/conservation, with parks/arboretum, etc., we encourage you to apply)
– Given the nature of this work, we sometimes have to be able to work in inclement weather
-Being innovative, being able to think independently is encouraged
-Having a driving license and experience of driving is a must
|Description||Oak savannas are an important vegetation type in the Southern USA, making up more than 120,000 km2. Over the past 150 years, these landscapes have been radically transformed by cultivation and subsequent abandonment, altered fire regimes, urbanization, and fragmentation. This altered fire regime has allowed undesirable plants to invade the understory, creating dense thickets of vegetation—a process described by some as thicketization. The overarching goal of our proposed project is to develop a better understanding of the ecohydrological implications of thicketization in oak savannas. We are particularly interested in determining if groundwater recharge could be enhanced via the creation of a more open structure. We will focus our field studies on the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion in eastern Texas. We believe that this ecoregion holds particular promise for increasing groundwater recharge at a regional scale because about one-third of its area is underlain by the deep sandy soils of the Carrizo–Wilcox recharge zone. We will employ a variety of field measurements at two locations in the Post Oak Savanna, all of which are designed to better quantify water fluxes across these landscapes (especially recharge). Using both remote sensing and hydrological modeling, we will be able to scale up our results to the entire region and apply them to other oak savannas. A secondary but very important goal of this project is to advance ecohydrology research opportunities for early- career scientists and undergraduate students. The project will support one full time post-doctoral scientist and heavily involve three Ph.D. students|