Concurrent Session 8

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8:00 AM – 9:15 am
CONCURRENT SESSION 8
Salon A Salon B Windsor Ballroom
Session Title Stream Restoration – Function Assessment Ecological Engineering Curriculum Emerging Technology & Methods
Moderator Sara Donatich Stew Diemont David Blersch
8:00 am – 8:15 am (98) Daniel Smith – Do Roots Bind Soil? Comparing the Physical and Biological Role of Roots in Fluvial Streambank Erosion Resistance (103) Jon Calabria – Educating Emerging Landscape Architects: Proctor Creek Case Study (108) David Austin – Drawing the Circle Larger: Towards Integration of Heavy Industry with Remediation of Oceanic Dead Zones
8:15 am – 8:30 am (99) Fouad Jaber – Impact of Riparian Re-Vegetation on Streambank Erodibility and Stability (104) Mauricio Arias – Seeking Consensus for Ecological Restoration of South Florida Ecosystems in a Water Resources Sustainability Course (109) Marc Beutel – Biomonitoring Mercury Contamination of the Landscape: Concentrations and Speciation in Tree Bark Near the Abbadia San Salvatore Mining District, Italy
8:30 am – 8:45 am (100) Jonathan Page – Post-Restoration Monitoring of Stream Restoration Projects: What Have We Learned About Our Design Cross-Sections? (105) Thomas G. Franti – EcoDesign Class Project: Teaching Ecological Engineering Through an International Project Collaboration (110) Stephanie Lansing – Effect of Microbial Treatment Processes on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): Digestion and Composting
8:45 am – 9:00 am (101) Brandon Quinn – Investigating Potential of Degradation of Streams in the United States (106) Annabelle Arnold – The Development of a Chapter of the American Ecological Engineering Society (111) David Blersch – Performance of 3D Manufactured Substrata in the Algal Turf Scrubber Approach
9:00 am – 9:15 am (102) Michael Brooker – Functional Potential of Microbial Communities in Agricultural Floodplain Sediments Dominated by Metal Homeostasis and Antibiotic Resistance Genes (107) Juan Castano – Co-Currence Network Analysis of Keywords in Ecological Engineering (112) Jacob Mast – Demeter’s Abacus: Biological Nutrient Computing

(98) Do Roots Bind Soil? Comparing the Physical and Biological Role of Roots in Fluvial Streambank Erosion Resistance

Presenter: Daniel Smith, Virginia Tech, dsmith36@vt.edu

Co-Authors: Theresa M Thompson, Virginia Tech, tthompson@vt.edu

Abstract: Today, it is recognized that plant roots affect fluvial erosion on streambanks through three main processes: 1) physical binding of soil particles by roots, 2) “gluing” soil particles together due to the release of extracellular polymeric substances by soil microorganisms, and 3) altering the streambank boundary layer, which reduces hydrodynamic forces and increases flow resistance. However, the relative importance of these mechanisms is not fully understood.

To quantify the effects of roots and soil microbial communities on erosion resistance, laboratory erosion testing was conducted using a jet erosion test (JET) device – an erosion measurement tool used measure soil erodibility and critical shear stress. Erosion resistance measurements were also correlated with plant, soil, and microbial parameters, including extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), aboveground biomass, root length density (RLD), and aggregate stability. The experimental setup included five treatments: 1) sterile soil, 2) sterile soil with synthetic roots, 3) inoculated soil without roots, 4) inoculated soil with synthetic roots, and 5) inoculated soil with live roots.

Critical shear stress, the stress required to start erosion, was significantly increased in Treatments 2, 4, and 5 compared to Treatment 3 by 67%, 75%, and 79%, respectively. As RLD and aggregate stability increased in vegetated samples (Treatment 5), soil critical shear stress significantly increased as well. However, soil erodibility, the volume of soil loss over time per unit area, was also significantly increased by 33% in Treatment 4 compared to Treatment 1. In addition, Treatment 5 saw a significant 10% decrease in aggregate stability in samples compared to all other treatments. Synthetic roots increased critical shear stress and soil erodibility, and no significant differences were found between sterilized vs inoculated treatments. These results suggest that the physical presence of fibers or the biological activity of microorganisms alone may not significantly impact soil resistance to fluvial erosion.

Biography: Daniel first learned of his love for the environment during his sophomore year while taking a fundamentals of soil science class at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). The class taught him why soil was such a precious resource and instilled a desire to protect it from further degradation. As a result, Daniel received a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Minor in Soil Science at UMD (’17). Starting in August 2017, Daniel joined the Biological Systems Engineering Department as a PhD student with Dr. Tess Thompson. His research project focuses on how plant roots and soil microorganisms impact streambank soil resistance to fluvial erosion. In order words, how effective are plant roots and soil microbes at protecting streambank soils from erosion by water?


(99) Impact of Riparian Re-Vegetation on Streambank Erodibility and Stability

Presenter: Fouad Jaber, Texas A&M AgriLife, fouad.jaber@ag.tamu.edu

Co-Authors: Destiny Russell

Abstract: Riparian and stream degradation is a major threat to water quality, in-stream habitat, terrestrial wildlife, aquatic species, and overall stream health. Conversely, proper management, protection, and restoration of riparian areas decrease bacteria, nutrient, and sediment loadings to waterbodies; lower in-stream temperatures; improve dissolved oxygen levels; improve aquatic habitat; and ultimately improves macrobenthos and fish community integrity. Two thirty meter reaches along a moderately erodible section of Geronimo Creek in Seguin, TX were selected for evaluating the impact of riparian revegetation as a restoration technique. One site was re-vegetated, and the other was left in its current condition. Water quality samples pre and post restoration are collected quarterly and after large storms. The impact of the re-vegetation was evaluated using the Bank Erodibility Hazard Index (BEHI) and cross section changes with time. Field measurements such as pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, total suspended solids (TSS), and dissolved oxygen data was also used to evaluate the restoration.

Biography: Dr. Fouad Jaber is an associate professor and integrated water resources management extension specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension located at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas. He has been conducting research and extension programs related to stormwater management, stream restoration, non-point source pollution management from the urban environment and water quality studies since 2002. Dr. Jaber is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.


(100) Post-Restoration Monitoring of Stream Restoration Projects: What Have We Learned About Our Design Cross-Sections?

Presenter: Jonathan Page, North Carolina State University, jlpage3@ncsu.edu

Co-Authors: Barbara Doll, North Carolina State University / North Carolina Sea Grant, bdoll@ncsu.edu

Abstract: Compensatory mitigation for impacts to streams and rivers is an established and growing industry across the United States. A state agency in North Carolina, the Division of Mitigation Services (NC DMS), facilitates many of the mitigation projects for streams. As these projects are implemented, post-construction monitoring is conducted to document and evaluate success of the project. Monitoring typically includes permanent cross-sections, vegetation plots, photo points, substrate surveys and longitudinal profile surveys. NC DMS has compiled a large database of monitoring data from projects over the last 20 years, however very little analysis of the dataset has been conducted. The general assumption is that newly constructed streams and rivers will adjust and evolve over time as the boundary conditions of the restored channel change as the project matures. The monitored cross-sections have been used to evaluate post-restoration channel adjustment trends. Within the current cross-section database there are 312 Reaches (individual streams) across 122 Sites represented, and within those Sites and Reaches there are 1,150 monitoring cross-sections with 3,944 resurveys. General as-built design parameters have been characterized. The mode of W/D for as-built restored streams in the NC Piedmont was 13 with 14 only having one less count. The majority the D50’s were gravel. Sand bed streams accounted for 39% of all reaches, which was more than anticipated due to the geologic characteristics of the NC Piedmont. Preliminary normalized adjustment factors were calculated for the “Net” and “Absolute” changes in the channel’s hydraulic geometry for riffles and pools. There were clear trends for the absolute riffle adjustments, which accounts for both increases and decreases in hydraulic geometry parameters. The median adjustment factors for Abkf, Wbkf, Dbkf and Dmbkf for each monitoring interval were all greater than 0.06 (6%) but less than 0.15 (15%) and increased for the overall monitoring period from MY 0 to MY 5 (0.14 to 0.24) for riffles and pools. There were visible trends for the absolute pool adjustments also. For alluvial streams, median adjustment factors for a one-year monitoring interval around 0.10 seems very reasonable if not lower than expected. However, there were also some larger adjustment factors observed in the preliminary data analysis that require further inspection. Further stratification of the dataset is ongoing to evaluate variability in adjustment factors due to hydraulic, geomorphic and watershed parameters not captured in the existing dataset. Relevant hydraulic (e.g. reach slope, shear stress, design bankfull discharge) and watershed (e.g. drainage area, landuse, impervious cover, basin slope) data are being curated from project data files and spatial datasets to support a robust analysis restored channel adjustment trends and factors contributing to those trends. Typical post-construction adjustment sequences and a channel evolution model will also be presented.

Biography: JP is a resident of Raleigh and an Extension Associate Engineer in the Department of Biological and Agriculture Engineering at NCSU while pursuing a PhD with Barbara Doll. He has extensive teaching, research, and applied experience in stream and river restoration, flood mitigation and upland stormwater controls. He supports these efforts with detailed hydraulic and sediment transport modeling (1D and 2D), innovative GIS mapping and analysis, 3D CAD Design, and fluvial geomorphology characterizations.


(101) Investigating Potential of Degradation of Streams in the United States

Presenter: Brandon Quinn, North Carolina A&T University, bquinn@aggies.ncat.edu

Co-Authors: Manoj Jha, North Carolina A&T University, mkjha@ncat.edu; Niroj Aryal, North Carolina A&T University, naryal@ncat.edu; Peter Allen, Baylor University, Mike White, USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory, Jeff Arnold, USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Abstract: Excessive river erosion and corresponding sedimentation threatens critical infrastructure, degrades aquatic habitat, and impairs water quality. Stream power is the rate of potential energy outflow against the bed and banks of a channel per unit length. In many gravel-bedded rivers, floods that fill the channel banks create just enough stream power in shear stress to move the median-sized gravel particles on the bed surface (D50). With the use of D50 data, there is a potential to assess channel degradation, down cutting potential, timing of bed material movement, equilibrium slope and relative bed stability. Consequently, we evaluated D50 and channel geometry as a tool to predict the magnitude of erosion, sedimentation, and channel evolution for their effective management.

We gathered, compiled, and mapped a large nation-wide dataset of D50 and hydraulic geometry for gravel-bedded rivers in the United States representing diverse regions, soils, topography, climates and land uses. The data were used to explore relationships between the D50 and/or channel geometry parameters including bedrock depth with streambank erosion and sediment supply using ArcGIS. The results are expected to provide better predictive capability for river and stream erosion using a readily available or measurable D50. The importance of channel geometry, bedrock depth and grain size lies in that they reflect landslide history, land use history, hydrology, and relative roughness, among many other factors.

Biography: Brandon Quinn is a first year graduate student at North Carolina A&T State University in the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Systems. He graduated from Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering in 2015. His undergraduate research aimed to determine odor print characteristics of bio-diesel fuels produced from materials known as sources of possible allergens to people. Upon graduation, Brandon gained employment with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service working with watersheds and the design and inspection of watershed structures. His current research involves the analysis of river and stream bed stability and degradation. Working closely with professors and other engineers, his research goal is to assist in the development of tools to predict river and stream erosion. After receiving his master’s degree, Brandon plans to purse a PhD in Agricultural Engineering. 


(102) Functional Potential of Microbial Communities in Agricultural Floodplain Sediments Dominated by Metal Homeostasis and Antibiotic Resistance Genes

Presenter: Michael Brooker, The Ohio State University, brooker.26@osu.edu

Co-Authors: Jonathan D. Witter, The Ohio State University, witter.7@osu.edu; Paula J. Mouser, University of New Hampshire, paula.mouser@unh.edu

Abstract: Riparian buffers are used in agricultural settings to reduce sediment and nutrient loads that impair downstream water bodies. While much is known about the physical and vegetative processes in these systems, less is known about the benefits or risks posed by microbial communities. A relatively new concept in the Midwestern United States is to implement two-stage designs in agricultural channels so that they resemble natural streams. This practice results in floodplains forming within the drainage channels, and allows for water quality improvements. Initially, we sampled sediments from fifteen floodplains to determine the heterogeneity of physical and chemical properties in two-stage channels that had been formed autonomously. The GeoChip 5.0 microarray – a genomic tool – was used to elucidate the microbial functional potential in a subset of theses samples. We detected an abundance of genes related to carbon cycling, organic remediation, and metal homeostasis, and found there to be a high degree of functional similarity across sites. Additionally, we detected a diverse set of antibiotic resistance genes. Our research had led us to ask the question: are two-stage channels sinks, reservoirs, or sources for antibiotic resistance to spread in the environment? Future research is needed to explore the selection and transport of antibiotic resistance in two-stage channel and other riparian systems.

Biography: Michael Brooker attended Ohio State University as an undergraduate focused on microbiology. Subsequently, he pursued graduate degrees in Environmental Science and Civil Engineering with a focus on water resources. His research has been focused in the field of biogeochemistry with emphasis on using (1) genomic tools to probe microbial communities;  and (2) mass spectrometry to elucidate organic geochemistry.


(103) Educating Emerging Landscape Architects: Proctor Creek Case Study

Presenter: Jon Calabria, University of Georgia, jcalabr@uga.edu

Co-Authors: LAND 6390 Students

Abstract: Graduate students from an Ecological Restoration course assisted the US Corps of Engineers with the Proctor Creek Urban Water Federal Partnership Program. Over a dozen federal agencies are coordinating with each other and community stakeholders to improve urban watersheds across the United States. Focus areas include urban agriculture, flood management, human health and ecosystem restoration. Restoration is focused on improving degraded channels and addressing sedimentation in Proctor Creek. The Corps of Engineers quantified the benefits of restoration to many different areas and selected almost twenty candidate sites based on cost effectiveness analysis. For this project, students visited several of the sites and coordinated with project stakeholders to clarify co-benefits and suggest design alternatives. Several of the alternatives, along with lessons learned, will be discussed.

Biography: Dr. Calabria, a licensed landscape architect, has worked with diverse clientele on many conservation, restoration and development projects and brings these experiences to his teaching at UGA. Projects improved environmental quality within the human context. Dr. Calabria’s research includes the amelioration of land use impacts on receiving waters, exploration of peoples’ perceptions and attitudes toward water resources, and pedagogical evaluation of service-learning.


(104) Seeking Consensus for Ecological Restoration of South Florida Ecosystems in a Water Resources Sustainability Course

Presenter: Mauricio Arias, University of South Florida, mearias@usf.edu

Abstract: South Florida has a unique mosaic of ecosystems covering an extensive area of the peninsula. Now neighboring the largest metropolitan area in Florida, this area is home to the Everglades, historically decimated for land reclamation and agriculture. Water through the region is heavily controlled as it moves from Lake Okeechobee through a series of canals and reservoirs. Despite large and expensive efforts to restore the Everglades, the regional hydrology remains heavily altered. What is more, the earthen dyke surrounding Lake Okeechobee, built in the 1930s to protect settlements south of the Lake from flooding, is dangerously compromised, forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain its level below originally intended. This has led to excessive amounts of nutrient-rich waters being directed to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, aggravating the severe algal blooms occurring in the canals and off the coasts. Overall, this is the most complex water and environmental management problem in Florida nowadays, involving dozens of stakeholders, affecting millions of civilians, and compromising tourism, the state’s largest industry. Graduate students in a Water Resources Sustainability course were presented with this problem, and throughout the semester we worked on finding sustainable management alternatives. The problem was approached using Water Diplomacy principles aiming to achieve consensus among stakeholders on how to manage water. Once critical stakeholders were identified, student took the role of each of them, and through a series of role game sessions (“stakeholder workshops”), we found consensus on a vision for the region, which highlighted the importance of ecosystem quality for the well-being of Florida’s society. This vision then directed specific actions needed to be taken to address the problem, some of which may involve ecological engineering, but not all. This presentation will summarize this fascinating educational experience, seeking feedback on how to continue improving this process.

Biography: Mauricio Arias is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida. He moved back to Florida in summer of 2016 after completing a Post-doctoral research fellowship in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University in 2014-2016.  His research aims at creating science-based linkages between the hydrological cycle, ecosystems, and society in order to promote sustainable management of water resources. He has studied hydrological, ecological, and sustainability issues in freshwater ecosystems around the world, primarily in Southeast Asia (Mekong), Brazil (Amazon) and Florida. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Engineering in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.


(105) EcoDesign Class Project: Teaching Ecological Engineering Through an International Project Collaboration

Presenter: Thomas G. Franti, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, tfranti@unl.edu

Co-Authors: O. Grant Clark, McGill University, grant.clark@mcgill.ca

Abstract: The authors teach an Ecological Engineering course that is an international collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and McGill University. The core learning experience is an EcoDesign Class Project. Learning outcomes are to work in a diverse team, collaborate using online tools, and create an ecological engineering design. Each student first completes a preliminary individual design idea. Teams comprising students from both universities then work together online using a “whiteboard-style” platform to develop and deliver a conceptual design. The design is assessed using a detailed rubric available to the students at the start of the project. The proposed system must: 1) provide at least two ecosystem services; 2) include both biotic and abiotic components; and 3) be specified for a real geographical location. The online whiteboards must include information about the collaboration (team-building, self-assessment, design methodology; individuals’ contributions), site characterization (physical and ecological aspects), and system specification (ecosystem services provided, energy system diagram, relevant calculations, and design graphics). Finally, an abstract must summarize the project goals, ecosystems services, ecological paradigm, and substantive legitimacy; i.e.: How will the system work? Instructors and peers provide feedback on a draft version of the description and the instructors grade the final version.

Biography: Thomas G. Franti, P.E., is an Associate Professor and Surface Water Management Specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For 25 years he has conducted research and extension education programs related to protecting surface water quality.  He also has five years of consulting engineering experience related to site feasibility and landfill design and construction.  He is a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin.  He has written guides related to riparian buffer strips to protect streams from agricultural runoff, rain gardens for urban homeowners, and use of compost for erosion control on steep slope construction sites. He teaches two courses, Introduction to Ecological Engineering and Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Engineering.


(106) The Development of a Chapter of the American Ecological Engineering Society

Presenter: Annabelle Arnold, American Ecological Engineering Society at the University of Maryland, aarnold2@terpmail.umd.edu

Abstract: Since its 2015 conception, led by two ecotechnology design undergraduates, the American Ecological Engineering Society chapter at the University of Maryland has blossomed. From five active members then to almost thirty now, meeting attendance, event participation and project involvement have all increased drastically.

The first two executive boards of UMD’s AEES spent their time organizing student government registrations, learning to navigate an expense account and to fundraise, and creating a basic framework to establish the society. There was not much time for members to plan, let alone implement, any real-world projects and as a result, the UMD chapter of AEES did not make an appearance at the national conference its first year. However, the second year’s team sent four members to the Georgia conference.

Last school year, the society adopted and focused on one project: the installation of a large-scale algal turf scrubber to educate students and faculty while reducing the campus contribution to stormwater runoff-related issues, awarded $1,000 between two grants. The members attended more campus-wide events and supported many sustainable engineering initiatives, making the club more popular among the student body. Fourteen AEES members attended the national conference!

This year, conference attendance has decreased to five members, but on-campus initiatives have increased four-fold! The society is focused on four projects: the algal turf scrubber (continued), a stream restoration project, an outdoor educational green wall, and stormwater management systems. These projects, together granted over $60,000 so far this year, have expose AEES members to institutional, financial and legal challenges that reflect those that professionals tackle and allow for close ties with many university departments. The society now has a more diverse set of majors and works alongside UMD’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Now, professors and organization leaders contact the society for aid when planning and implementing their projects!

Biography: Annabelle Arnold is a junior at the University of Maryland studying Environmental Health and Global Poverty. She became involved in the UMD chapter of the American Ecological Engineering Society in 2017 when a project she was co-leading, the Algal “Terp” Scrubber, was adopted by the student organization as a structure that would ensure the implementation of the technology on campus. After a year in the society, she was nominated and voted in as President for the following year, this year, in which the club has taken on more projects than ever. Through collaboration with other student organizations and university departments and dedication to the pursuit of sustainably engineered solutions, the UMD chapter of the AEES is an example of how groups of students can self-organize to tackle real-world problems and create a better future. Annabelle hopes to share this message with other current and future AEES chapter leaders!


(107) Co-Currence Network Analysis of Keywords in Ecological Engineering

Presenter: Juan Castano, Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira, jmc@utp.edu.co

Abstract: The aim of this study is to identify core keyword of Ecological Engineering from 1997 to 2019 in papers three Ecological Engineering related journals.   A total of 739 papers were retrieved from Scopus. Keywords from these papers were extracted using the scopus data base,  and were processed by scripting in R to obtain a node matrix with 2889 nodes, and an edge matrix with 7996 edges.  A network analisys of these Matrix were conducted using Gephi 0.9.1. Using the weighted degree of the network, the top ten keywords with a high frequence of ocurrence were ‘ecological engineering’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘restoration’, ‘phosphorous’, ‘sustainability’, ‘ecological restoration’, ‘soil’, ‘GIS’, ‘water quality’ and ‘biomass’. A total of  171comunities were identified.  The main cohesive subgruops are around the keywords ‘Restoration’, ‘Ecological Engineering”, ‘Conservation’, ‘GIS’ and ‘phosporous’. The low density of the network shows a high heterogeinity of keywords. The keywords ‘ecological engineering’, ‘sustainabilitiy’, ‘biodiversity’ and ‘Restoration’ represents, according the eigenvector centrality, the more influencing keywords of the network.

Biography: Juan Castano has a BS in Chemical Engineering; MSc in Sanitary & Environmental Engineering; PhD in Engineering. Associate Profesor at Universidad  Tecnologica de Pereria in Pereira Colombia


(108) Drawing the Circle Larger: Towards Integration of Heavy Industry with Remediation of Oceanic Dead Zones

Presenter: David Austin, Jacobs, david.austin10@jacobs.com

Abstract: Oceanic dead zones are a growing problem worldwide. All occur in areas receiving nutrient-rich discharge from major river systems. In confined seas, such as the Baltic Sea, remediation by source reduction will take over a century. Action is needed now.

Injection of pure oxygen into anoxic deeps will destroy anoxia. Mature technologies exist from reservoir remediation to do so. Scale is challenging. Remediation of Baltic anoxia may take 50,000 tons O2 per day distributed at various deep zones. Over a one hundred-fold increase in scale from current technology presents formidable engineering and economic challenges.

Meeting those challenges entail drawing larger conceptual circle around the problem. Production of that much oxygen is only economically feasible through liquefaction of air. For every 10,000 tons of oxygen produced through fractional distillation of liquid air slightly less then 40,000 tons of liquid nitrogen will be produced. Liquid nitrogen can them serves as large-scale grid batteries for renewable energy.

When liquid air (or nitrogen) expands, it can power turbines returning energy to the grid within 10 seconds from the signal for demand. Round trip energy efficiency for liquid nitrogen grid batteries can be up to 45%. Renewable energy is currently in a phase of severe and increasing curtailment primarily because of lack of storage. Without storage, maximum green energy penetration is slightly less then 40% of the grid. With 12 hours of storage it is 80%.

Engineered remediation of oceanic dead zones has scarcely been contemplated. Nevertheless, all the technologies needed to do so are mature in various industrial sectors. Technical integration of these technologies is not simple, but the engineering challenges are straightforward. The challenge is finding economically viable solutions at scales that can be rationally integrated into other industrial sectors.

Biography: David Austin is the lead technologist for Natural Treatment Systems in Jacobs Engineering Group. He is an environmental P.E. (MN), Certified Senior Ecologist (Ecological Society of America), Certified Lake Manager (North American Lake Management Society), and a past President of the American Ecological Engineering Society. His projects concentrate on reservoir management, treatment wetlands, wastewater reuse, and mine water reclamation. Previously, he was a marine salvage and diving officer in the Navy. Degrees: Mathematics (BA, UM-Twin Cities), Water Resources Management (MS, UW-Madison), and Civil & Environmental Engineering (MS, UC-Davis).


(109) Biomonitoring Mercury Contamination of the Landscape: Concentrations and Speciation in Tree Bark Near the Abbadia San Salvatore Mining District, Italy

Presenter: Marc Beutel, University of California Merced, mbeutel@ucmerced.edu

Co-Authors: Valentina Rimondi, University of Florence, Italy, valentina.rimondi@unifi.it; Pilario Costagliola, University of Florence, Italy, pilario.costagliola@unifi.it; Pierfranco Lattanzi, Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources/National Research Council of Italy, Florence, Italy, pierfrancolattanzi@gmail.com

Abstract: Tree bark of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) is being used as a biomonitor of atmospheric mercury (Hg) pollution at the historic Abbadia San Salvatore mining district in Southern Tuscany, Italy. Monitoring shows extreme concentrations of total Hg in surface bark (as high as 17 mg/kg dry weight) decreasing exponentially with distance away from ore processing areas. Additional work is underway to better understand Hg speciation in bark. Previous work by our research team using X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy showed that Hg in bark samples was dominated by metacinnabar (β-HgS) and Hg-cysteine complexes; Hg bound to tannic acid and Hg0 were also detected. This presentation highlights work using an alternative Hg speciation approach: thermal desorption. Using a Milestone DMA-80 analyzer, samples were heated and Hg concentration assessed incrementally using the following scheme: (1) 175 deg C = labile Hg including HgCl2; (2) 225 deg C = labile organic Hg including humic bound Hg, methyl Hg, and (CH3COO)2Hg; (3) 325 deg C = insoluble Hg sulfides; (4) 475 deg C = poorly labile Hg compounds including HgO and HgSO4; and (5) 750 deg C = immobile residual Hg. Testing, which is ongoing, will yield further insight into how Hg is trapped in tree bark, which in turn will help to inform the role in which tree bark can play in the biomonitoring of Hg pollution in the landscape.

Biography: Marc Beutel is an Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the chair of the Environmental Systems Graduate Group at UC Merced. Beutel’s research focuses on the sustainable control of dilute pollutants in managed surface waters including nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and mercury, with a focus on redox mediated transformations in the environment, reservoir oxygen addition, and constructed treatment wetlands. He is currently working with several large California water utilities assessing how water storage reservoirs can be managed or treated in situ to reduce bioaccumulation of mercury in aquatic biota. Beutel is collaborating with colleagues at the University of Florence, Italy to use tree bark as a simple biomonitor for mercury contamination at historic mercury mines.


(110) Effect of Microbial Treatment Processes on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): Digestion and Composting

Presenter: Stephanie Lansing, University of Maryland, slansing@umd.edu

Co-Authors: Stephanie Lansing, University of Maryland, slansing@umd.edu; Jenna Schueler, University of Maryland, jennaschueler1@gmail.com; Carlton Poindexter, University of Maryland, cpoindex@terpmail.umd.edu; Andrea Yarberry, University of Maryland, andrea.yarberry@usda.gov; Diana Aga, University at Buffalo, dianaaga@buffalo.edu; Curt Gooch, Cornell University, cag26@cornell.edu; Jason Oliver, Cornell University, jpo53@cornell.edu; Cliff Rice, clifford.rice@ars.usda.gov; David Lansing, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, dlansing@umbc.edu

Abstract: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is increasingly recognized as a critical human health threat. A great deal of concern has been focused on the potential overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, and its contribution to the emergence of AMR resistance and negative downstream effects on human health. In this work, we evaluated different dairy manure management practices in controlling spread of antimicrobial resistance from dairy farms, including anaerobic digestion, composting, lagoon storage, and solid-liquid separation with comparison of the antibiotic residual and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) to the quantity of daily antibiotics administered at each of the 11 dairy farms studied over an 18-month period. In addition, we conducted in-depth evaluation of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance genes transformations during anaerobic digestion and composting of dairy manure at the lab and field-scale.

The results showed that when using antibiotic concentrations seen in the field (0 – 1mg/L), the effect of digestion on antibiotic degradation was inconsistent for tetracycline (0-80% reduction), but high for sulfamethoxine (>95%), with inconsistent reductions is Sul1 genes and greater reductions in TetM genes during digestion. Composting pile management and compost temperature affected the antibiotic concentration reductions, without consistent results in degradation over time.

Current studies include analyzing the effect of higher temperature microbial-based treatment (thermophilic digestion and composting) on antibiotic residuals and ARGs, and investigating stakeholder perceptions (and misconceptions) of AMR prevalence and conveyance for farmers, veterinarians, and other stakeholders using interviews, focus groups, and surveys, with the creation of video and print communication content on AMR in agriculture. Additionally, we recently organized a workshop with the leaders in AMR social science research and AMR communication to identify research to date, and create a database of social science-based AMR information and AMR communication in agriculture.

Biography: Dr. Stephanie Lansing is an Associate Professor of Waste to Energy Technologies at the University of Maryland’s Department of Environmental Science and Technology. She earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the Ohio State University. Her research interests include anaerobic digestion, microbial fuel cells, gasification, nutrient capture, and modeling, and includes projects using dairy, swine and poultry manure, food waste, algae, and wastewater in the US, Germany, Haiti, China, and Costa Rica.  Her focus on waste to energy processes, includes how anaerobic digestion and composting of manure substrates affect antimicrobial resistance. She has over 15 years of experience in assisting farmers with anaerobic digestion of manure and food waste substrates, nutrient management, life cycle assessments, and waste treatment.


(111) Performance of 3D Manufactured Substrata in the Algal Turf Scrubber Approach

Presenter: David Blersch, Auburn University, dmb0040@auburn.edu

Co-Authors: Andres L. Carrano, Georgia Southern University; acarrano@georgiasouthern.edu; Virginia Davis Auburn University; Joseph Ekong, Ohio Northern University, j-ekong@onu.edu; Kamran Kardel Georgia Southern University, kkardel@georgiasouthern.edu; Zahra Karimi, Auburn University; Ali Khoshkhoo, State University of New York at Binghamton, khoshkho@binghamton.edu; Gabriel Proano Pena, Auburn University

Abstract: The performance of Algal Turf Scrubbers (ATS) rely upon the attachment of benthic filamentous algae to a substratum for remediation of aquatic pollution. The ATS process results in a mixed algal community of multiple phyla, providing a non-specific biomass product of varying quality for post-harvest utilization. This is a factor that has hindered the economic viability of the ATS approach for water remediation in most cases. Among possible process-based approaches for affecting algal community selectivity through competitive exclusion, re-engineering of the substratum for species-specific early colonization shows promise for positively affecting the process. We report on activities researching and developing novel substrata for use in ATS systems. Studies include investigation into advanced rates of early algal colonization using 3D-printed substrata forms, both idealized and reverse-engineered from natural substrata; optimization to increase biomass accrual rates on novel fibrous substrata; and design of new polymer composite materials that are species-selective through manipulation of surface free energy characteristics. Resulting substrata technologies have been tested in the laboratory, and demonstrate promise for understanding fundamental properties of the colonization ecology of attached benthic filamentous algae. Field applications of the materials technologies show advancements in biomass productivity that argue for considerations for scale-up for economic viability of ATS cultivation of algae.

Biography: David M. Blersch, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Biosystems Engineering Department at Auburn University, where he teaches courses in Ecological Engineering, Aquaculture and Aquaponics, and Algae Systems Engineering. Dr. Blersch’s research interests in ecological engineering algae cultivation for pollutant recovery and biomass production; aquaculture and aquaponics food production systems; and ecological systems modeling. Dr. Blersch is principal investigator for the Auburn University Algal Systems and Ecological Engineering Laboratory, and is PI for the Auburn University 3D-Printed Bio-Surfaces (3D-PBS) Laboratory. Dr. Blersch has environmental and ecological engineering research supported by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; US National Science Foundation; US Environmental Protection Agency; and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and is the author or co-author of 20 publications and over 100 presentations on ecological engineering for resource utilization in agricultural systems. Dr. Blersch holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Indiana), and a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland).


(112) Demeter’s Abacus: Biological Nutrient Computing

Presenter: Jacob Mast, The University of Maryland AEES, williamjmast@gmail.com

Co-Authors: Patrick Kangas, University of Maryland, pkangas@umd.edu; Peter May, University of Maryland, pimay@umd.edu

Abstract: Algal Turf Scrubbers™ (ATS) are an evolving technology used to mitigate stormwater nutrient run-off, while producing useful algal biomass. Algal production, and the nutrient sequestration therein, is a product of a variety of water conditions, mainly phosphorus and nitrogen content. In trying to implement ATS in our local watershed (three successful temporary installments, two larger scale buildings proposed), it has become a concern that different bodies of water, even small differences in the placement along a single water body, can produce measurable differences in algal production. Demeter’s Abacus is a microcosm ATS, designed to operate off a 5 gallon water sample. Through its production of biomass (or its maintenance of a pre-seeded algae screen), a metric can theoretically be obtained for the eutrophication of that water body at that place. More specifically, the system could be used to test the viability of various locations for algae growth, becoming a decision-making tool for the site choices of future ATS installations. The cost of the entire system is being projected to be under $50, with access to 3D printing. In time, this system could provide a rough metric for eutrophication cheaply, helping communities identify point sources for stormwater nutrient pollution. As ATS approaches the farming community as a means of fertilizer run-off reclamation, this ability could be a sales/viability tool. I am currently looking for graduate school opportunities to advance this personal project.

Biography: Jacob is a senior at the University of Maryland majoring in Ecological Technology Design, and minoring in Soil Science. He advises five AEES student projects as Project Manager and Vice President of his chapter, and is a project leader for two of them. Jacob works for former AEES president Dr. David Tilley at Living Canopies, as well as the Maryland Food Collective. He is also a project leader for Roots Africa, and a competitor on the soil judging team. Please talk to him about algae, socialism, and your favorite blues guitarists.