Research Projects

The highest densities of lakes on Earth are in north temperate ecosystems, where chloride runoff from road deicers can salinize freshwaters and threaten lake water quality and the many ecosystem services lakes provide.

Many questions remain as to the impact of chloride loading in aquatic ecosystems.

Publications:
Dugan et al. (2017) PNAS
Dugan et al. (2017) Nature: Scientific Data
Dugan et al. (2017) Limnology and Oceanography Letters

Understanding energy, water, solute, and material flux through lakes and reservoirs underpins our knowledge of the roles lakes play in their catchments, how lakes process and respond to external drivers, and the threats to lake ecosystem services imposed by human activities.

Hydrodynamic water quality models are technologies well-suited to this class of ecological problem. They are tools that provide the opportunity to model the physics, chemistry, and biology of lakes, and offer a mechanistic understanding of lake systems that can be used to test management strategies, predict scenarios under future conditions, and, in the future, provide real-time forecasting of water quality.

Publications:
Snortheim et al (2016) Ecological Modelling
Current Projects:
Coupled Natural and Human Systems: Linking land-use decision making, water quality, and lake associations to understand human-natural feedbacks in lake catchments

How do lakes function across large geographic areas?

Linking local ecosystem processes to global changes involves scaling up. Moving from site-specific studies that provide an invaluable means to understand process, to large-scale analyses across a gradient of sites at the continental or global scale is essential to forming a generalizable understanding of both ecosystem processes and the interactions between natural systems and humans.

Current Projects:
Satellite imagery, machine learning, and lakes  (collaborators, Paul Hanson UW-Madison, Jordan Read USGS, Vipin Kumar U. Minnesota)

Antarctic limnology was the focus of my PhD research. In 2011, a survey of the Dry Valleys using airborne electromagnetics was conducted. Results revealed wide-spread subsurface brine throughout Taylor Valley. In 2017, we’re headed back to the ice to conduct a second (deeper and wider) survey. Stay tuned!

Publications:
Dugan et al (2015) Geophysical Research Letters
Mikucki et al (2015) Nature Communications