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RESEARCH THRUSTS

  

     *The research program is not organized into individual projects, but rather  research   thrusts. Each student will still have her/his individual project, but the project is part  of the larger research thrust.*

    E. coli Variability

    To characterize the temporal and spatial variability of E. coli., we plan to utilize automatic water quality samplers (a.k.a. ISCO samplers). During the observation period (July 1– November 30, 2005 & April 1 – June 30, 2006) samples will be collected (a) at 2-hour intervals at Community Boating and (b) once-a-day from a tourist boat using an automated water quality sampler. The samples will be picked up and analyzed in Northeastern’s lab for E. coli. and turbidity on a daily basis. Data analysis will include trying to understand what controls the concentration of E. coli. in the Charles. Students will, for example, correlate concentrations to rainfall or turbidity. The data will be used to design beach management protocols and source tracking.


    An automatic sampler will be placed at (A) Community Boating for 24/7 sampling and (B) onboard a tourist boat for spatial sampling.

     

    Remote Sensing of Water Quality

    It is expected that bacteria concentration correlates positively with turbidity, which can be estimated from satellite imagery (e.g. Hellweger et al., 2004). By correlating bacteria to turbidity and estimating turbidity using satellites the spatial resolution of the bacteria concentration can be improved significantly. This project includes correlating satellite reflectance to ground-measured turbidity. Various ground measurements and satellite images are available, including an IKONOS image aquired during our high-resolution bacteria/turbidity survey (see below). The next step is to correlate the ground measurements and satellite reflectance.


    Say Cheese! The sampling crew (from left: Dan, Petr, Ferdi, Craig) stand still for the IKONOS high-resolution satellite on the Charles River.

     

    Now/Fore-Cast Modeling.

    In the long-run, the data collected in 05 will be used to support the development of a bacteria forecast model, which can be used to forecast which beaches will be closed when. This project is a first step in developing such a system. An existing hydrologic model for a small watershed (e.g. Stony Brook) will be set up in now/fore-cast mode and a web page will be developed to serve the results.


    Outline of a model-assisted beach closing forecast system.

     

    Effect of Canadian Geese on Bacteria.

    What is the effect of Canadian Geese on bacteria (fecal coliform) levels in the Charles River? Are there long-term trends in resident populations or migratory behavior that could explain some of the long-term trends in bacteria levels observed in the Charles River? This project consists of gathering data on long-term trends of various "factors", like Canadian Geese, Temperature, Rainfall, XYZ? and comparing it to bacteria trends in the Charles and other water bodies in the northeast.


    Canadian Geese on the Charles River.

     

    History of Stony Brook Sewer System.

    The sewer system in the Stony Brook watershed has changed in the past and continues to change as part of ongoing sewer separation projects. We want to understand the long-term dynamics and feedbacks of the sewer system with humans in general and land use and transportation in particular. To do that we need to first recreate the history of the sewer system. This project consists of compiling historical data (i.e. “as build” drawings) and putting it into a consistent AutoCAD or GIS format.


    Stony Brook today (from USGS).