Developing an Interactive GIS Tool for Stream Classification in Northeast Puerto Rico

Project Description: 

This project aimed to answer basic environmental questions about a tropical montane ecosystem. Two models were created to classify streams flowing within the study area based on specific environmental parameters used as inputs. The output of each model is a derived vector stream network, which has as data within the attribute table the identification of each parameter, given as inputs, on a per stream reach basis. The input parameters used for each model were a bedrock lithology layer and a vegetation layer.

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Soil organic matter quantity, quality and microbial activity in deep soil profiles

Project Description: 

1) How does the quantity and quality of soil organic matter change as a function of soil profile depth:
-in old, highly weathered oxisol profiles versus younger, granitic inceptisol profiles?
-in three different forest types: Tabunuco, Colorado and sierra palm?
2) How do soil microbial community structure and functional characteristics change with depth across contrasting parent materials and forest types?
3) Can we relate microbial community characteristics to SOM quantity and quality?

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Microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, rhizosphere

Longitudinal Patterns in Stream Channel Geomorphology and Aquatic Habitat in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico

Project Description: 

The hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological dynamics of tropical montane
streams are poorly understood in comparison to many temperate and/or alluvial rivers.
Yet as the threat to tropical freshwater environments increases, information on the
dynamics of relatively pristine streams is important for understanding landscape
evolution, managing and conserving natural resources, and implementing stream
restoration. This dissertation characterizes the geomorphology and hydrology of five

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Long-term landscape evolution of the Luquillo Mountains and its effects on today’s variability in erosion rates.

Project Description: 

Key Science Questions Involved:
1 – Large scale: When where the Luquillo Mountains uplifted to their present height?
2 – Mesoscale: The last 500-600 m of uplift generated a conspicuous wave of erosion still propagating toward the mountain tops. What is the magnitude of the spatial variability in erosion rate associated with this wave?

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Geormophology

Relative importance of sediment abrasion in downstream fining of grains and production of fine sediment.

Project Description: 

Key Science Questions Involved:
1. What is the relative importance of abrasion versus selective transport in causing downstream fining of river sediments?
2. What is the fraction of fine material that is produced by abrasion of gravel?

Core Area(s) and/or Keywords: 

sediment transport, abrasion, lithology, downstream fining

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Determining the Provenance of Suspended Sediment: Storm Sampling in Northeastern Puerto Rico

Project Description: 

Motivation for study:
1. How does a single precipitation event erode a landscape?
2. Can we determine provenance of suspended sediments during a flood event?
3. Do source areas contributing suspended sediments vary over the course of a hydrograph?

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Core Area(s) and/or Keywords: 

hydrograph, erosion, suspended sediment, isotopic fingerprinting

Microbial community analysis of Bisley watershed in Puerto Rico

Project Description: 

Biological processes are known to play significant roles in soil formation and surficial weathering. However, the contributions of biological activity to regolith and rock weathering below the root zone are less well understood, especially in humid tropic forests that have shallow root systems and rapid nutrient cycling in surficial layers. In Puerto Rico, thick, highly leached saprolites blanket the landscape, reaching well over 16 m deep on some ridges, often decoupling deep biogeochemical cycles from surface cycles.

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