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Resilience and Adaptive Governance of Stressed Watersheds, an IGERT Program

Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship

IGERT Students

The first group of students were admitted in January 2010. Additional students enrolled in August 2010, 2011 and 2012.

No additional applications are being accepted.

Hannah Birge

Hannah Birge

Hannah Birgé
School of Natural Resources

Education:

  • Ph.D., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S., Ecology, Colorado State University, May 2012
  • B.A., St. Olaf College, May 2009

Research Interests: Constructed wetlands, natural wetland, ecosystems services

Proposed Research Summary: Global wetlands provide a disproportionate volume of ecosystem services for their land area, such as flood control, water purification, carbon storage and nutrient retention. As native wetlands are increasingly reapportioned for alternative land use, human-constructed wetlands are slowly proliferating. The focus of my research is to investigate how constructed wetlands provide the same ecosystem services we have come to expect from native wetlands, with a specific interest in nutrient retention, carbon storage, and greenhouse gas emissions

Joana Chan

Joana Chan

Joana Chan
School of Natural Resources

Post-Graduation Positions:

  • Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, Cornell University, Department of Natural Resources (2015)
  • Field Researcher, University of Vermont (2014)

Education:

  • Ph.D., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, December 2014
  • B.A., Environmental Studies and Chinese. Vassar College, 2008

Research Interests: Water in agriculture and food systems, social participation and conflict resolution in water policy, gender equity and environmental justice

Research Summary: I am interested in examining the topic of agricultural water policy in stressed watersheds both locally and abroad. With increasing concerns about food insecurity internationally, I am particularly interested the role that gender and public participation may play in crafting and implementing ecologically sound and socially equitable agricultural water policy.

Joana Chan

Vicky Chraibi

Victoria Chraibi
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Education:

  • Ph.D., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S., Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Spring 2013
  • B.A., Biology/Spanish, Hanover College, May 2009

Research Interests: Paleolimnology, ecology, limnology, climate, land use and water quality

Proposed Research Summary: I am interested in resilience in terms of the response of lake communities – primarily diatoms – to disturbances in their watersheds, and how these responses are influenced by the physical characteristics of the watershed. I am working with diatom fossil records from lakes in the Yellowstone National Park area to reconstruct long-term changes such as climate shifts and short, intense disturbances like fire over the last several thousand years. I may also reconstruct more recent human disturbances associated with management, such as fish stocking, over the last few hundred years. I will develop educational materials exploring the dynamic relationship between biological communities, their abiotic environments, and the resilience of a system.

Anil Giri

Anil Giri

Anil Giri
Department of Agricultural Economics

Post-Graduation Position: Assistant professor, University of Central Missouri (2015)

Education:

  • Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 2015
  • M.S., Agricultural Economics with a minor in statistics, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, May 2012
  • B.S., Agribusiness Management with a minor in business, Oregon State University, May 2010

Research Interests: Regional Economics, Water Economics, Development Economics, and Environmental Economics

Proposed Research Summary: There is a great deal of interest from different stake holders in terms of trying to understand the economic impact for the state as a result of the drought. My research is focused on the drought and effects of it in the regional economy of Nebraska.

Danielle Haak

Danielle Haak

Danielle Haak
School of Natural Resources

Post-Graduation Position:

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Georgia/Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit working out of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center

Education:

  • Ph.D., Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2015
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, Michigan Tech University, August 2011
  • B.S., Natural Resources - Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, December 2007

Research Interests: Aquatic invasive species, changes in water quality and biodiversity due to anthropogenic stressors, adaptive management, and fisheries ecology

Proposed Research Summary: I am investigating the ecology of the Chinese mystery snail (Bellamya chinensis) to further our understanding of how this aquatic invasive species alters ecosystem functioning after establishment. Specifically, I am using laboratory experiments to quantify the components of a basic bioenergetics equation, consumption, waste elimination, production, and respiration, for this species and will use this information to develop habitat suitability models for reservoirs in southeast Nebraska.

Joseph Hamm

Joseph Hamm

Joseph Hamm
Department of Psychology

Post-Graduation Position:

  • Assistant Professor, University of Conservation Criminology with the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State

Education:

  • Ph.D., Law-Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2014
  • Master of Legal Studies, University of Nebraska, School of Law, May 2013
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Northern Colorado, May 2008

Research Interests: Public trust in institutions, especially stakeholder trust of regulatory institutions

Research Summary: Influencing human behavior is a critical responsibility of all institutions of authority. From the courts to institutional mental health providers to natural resource regulators, the ability to have some sway over the actions of relevant individuals functionally determines the effectiveness of these institutions. Of the many potential avenues to eliciting this acquiescence, however, trust represents one of the most promising. My research focuses on issues of conceptualizing, measuring, and the behavioral outcomes of that trust. My program of research has sought to incorporate research and knowledge from a number of disciplines, notably including law, political science and natural resource management as well as many sub-disciplines within psychology, to understand public interactions with governance institutions

Joe has accepted a faculty position at Michigan State University starting fall 2014.

Noelle Chaine

Noelle Chaine

Noelle (Chaine) Hart
School of Natural Resources

Post-Graduation Position: TBA

Education:

  • Ph.D., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 2015
  • B.S., Natural Resources (applied ecology), Cornell University, May 2011

Research interests: Adaptive management, social-ecological resilience, conservation biology, wildlife biology

Proposed Research Summary: I am interested in natural resource management, specifically looking at concepts of adaptive management and social-ecological resilience. Management paradigms have been shifting away from traditional methods in light of past failures and awareness of the complexity of problems facing us today. Both adaptive management and resilience thinking have been increasing in popularity as alternatives to traditional management. I am studying how adaptive management and resilience thinking perspectives influence the process and outcomes of natural resource management projects. My research involves a number of related components including: (a) investigating the process of large-scale adaptive management through interviews with participants (Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program), (b) working with the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project in the development of an adaptive management framework for conservation of species/communities of concern, (c) comparing adaptive management and resilience thinking approaches using practitioner's guides and workshops with experts, and (d) exploring the potential for quantifying resilience and applying optimization techniques. Ultimately, I am interested in helping managers understand the tools offered by adaptive management and resilience thinking and to allow for more informed decisions about when to apply adaptive management, resilience, or a combination.

Trevor J. Hefley

Trevor Hefley

Trevor J. Hefley
School of Natural Resources and Department of Statistics

Post-Graduation Positions:

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation, and the Colorardo Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Colorado State University (2015)
  • Headwaters Corporation, Nebraska (2014)

Education:

  • Ph.D., Natural Resource Sciences/Statistics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2014
  • B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2010

Research Interests: Ecological statistics, decision making using statistics

Research Summary: I am interested in testing current assumptions of ecological theory using spatial and temporally diverse data. In addition I want to apply or develop methods that will allow for said results to be timely and useful to current management of large river systems. I am also interested in applying modeling approaches to understand the utility of collecting future ecological data using historical techniques compared to data collection techniques that are adaptive as more information about the system becomes available. Statistical methods used to understand and predict population abundance have typically been borrowed and adapted from standard methods for use in Ecology. Recent developments and increased computing power has made it feasible to develop and tailor statistical methods that are ecologically more plausible and also describe how the data was collected. My research focuses on developing new statistical methods for long term population monitoring data sets. Trevor has set-up a site for his research.

Michelle Hellman

Michelle Hellman

Michelle Hellman
School of Natural Resources

Education:

  • Ph.D., Natural Resource Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S., Natural Resource Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2013
  • B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2007

Research Interests: Ecosystem resilience of wetlands in a matrix of intensive agriculture

Research Summary: In the U.S. wetland loss has been greatest in agricultural regions where many wetlands were converted to crop land and remaining wetlands are often compromised by agrichemical runoff or loss of connectivity to adjacent wetlands. The Rainwater Basin in central Nebraska is an area of intensive agriculture within which hundreds of wetlands remain from the thousands in existence prior to settlement. I will assess the current level of connectivity within clusters or complexes of Rainwater Basin wetlands.  Then I will examine the impacts of agrichemical runoff on resilience of these wetland ecosystems. If we know more about how wetlands are impacted by proximity to agriculture we can improve our current management strategies.

Christina Hoffman

Christina Hoffman

Christina (Hoffman) Babbitt
School of Natural Resources

Post-Graduation Positions:

  • Manager, CA Groundwater Program Environmental Defense Fund (2015)
  • Blue Earth Consultants, California (2013-2014)

Education:

  • Ph.D., Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2013
  • M.S., Environmental Studies, Florida International University, July 2007
  • B.A., International Relations, Rollins College, February 2004

Research Interests: Water policy, transboundary water issues, water allocation planning, and adaptive management

Research Summary: My research focused on water allocation planning and how societies can develop water allocation plans that promote resiliency within watersheds in the face of a changing climate. Specifically, I am interested in how policies and laws influence water allocations in regards to both human uses and ecosystem needs, as well as how adaptive management can be applied to water allocation planning to better protect ecosystem health.

Christina is working with a consulting firm in California.

Kristine Nemec

Kristine Nemec

Kristine Nemec
School of Natural Resources

Post-Graduation Positions:

  • Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program Manager University of Northern Iowa (2015)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, USDA South Dakota (2013-2015)

Education:

  • Ph.D., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, December 2012
  • M.A., Biology. University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2003
  • B.S., Environmental Studies. University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1999

Research Interests: Restoration ecology, grassland ecology, agroecology, and ecosystem resilience

Research Summary: I studied how the diversity and initial seeding density of restored grasslands near the Platte River affects ecosystem services, including soil development, resistance to invasive plant species, herbivory levels on two perennial forbs, and diversity of predatory invertebrates. I am interested in how the provision of these services contributes to the resilience of agro-ecosystems within the Platte River watershed.

Kristine is working with USDA in South Dakota.

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Donald Pan

Donald Pan

Donald Pan
School of Biological Sciences

Post-Graduation Position:

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Education:

  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2015
  • B.S., Microbial Biology. University of California, Berkeley, Dec 2004
  • B.A., Astrophysics. University of California, Berkeley, Dec 2004

Research Interests: Applied and environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, bioremediation, water quality, field research

Research Summary: Donald Pan is a first-year PhD student in the Microbiology and Molecular Biology Program in the School of Biological Sciences under the advisement of Dr. Karrie Weber. During his undergraduate study, he developed a capacity for conceptualizing nature from the scale of bacteria all the way to the scale of planetary systems. He obtained undergraduate research experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center researching microbiological oxygen production as part of life support systems for lunar habitats and at UC Berkeley characterizing the natural biological production of trace greenhouse gases.

Don joined IGERT in January 2010 with an interest in how biological activity at the smallest scales (that of bacteria and viruses) can have ecosystem-level and global consequences. His research asks what the contribution of the viruses of bacteria (bacteriophage) is to established global biogeochemical cycles. His dissertation research will investigate the complex interactions between viruses and bacteria and how they contribute to the system-scale behavior of resilience. He will approach this from an interdisciplinary perspective, using tools from ecology, geochemistry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics.

Nathan Rossman

Nathan Rossman

Nathan Rossman
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Post-Graduation Position:

  • Consulting hydrogeologist and groundwater modeler, HDR, Inc., Omaha

Education:

  • Ph.D., Geoscience, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 2015
  • M.S., Geological Sciences (Emphasis in Hydrology), University of Missouri-Columbia, May 2010
  • B.S., Geoscience, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota, May 2008

Research Interests: Hydrogeology, groundwater flow modeling, groundwater-surface water interactions, water resources policy and management

Proposed Research Summary:I am researching the role that hydrologic models play in the development of scientific understanding and the creation of management plans within stressed watersheds and their eventual use by decision makers and resource managers in providing sustainable water supplies and maintaining resilient social-ecological systems throughout the western United States. Additionally, I am building an integrated hydrologic model capable of simulating fully-coupled surface and variably saturated subsurface flow within a 34,000 sq. km area of the Nebraska Sand Hills that will provide new insight into regional water budget components, such as evapotranspiration and recharge, which I will also use to assess the impacts to water availability caused by future climate change as predicted from global circulation model output.  

 

Zion Schell
Computer Science and Engineering

Education:

  • Ph.D., Computer Science/Mathematics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.S., Computer Science/Mathematics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2012

Research Interests:My research at present relates to Volunteered Geographic Information (and therefore, data fusion), specifically with regards to the validity of said VGI.

Proposed Research Summary: It is simply impossible to perform high-resolution analyses on merely the spatially-sparse data received from completely-trusted sources (universities, NWS, GIS, etc.). It is therefore not illogical to allow contributions from interested volunteers. However, to what extent can you trust this information? How can you identify problem contributors or correctly assess data outliers when you have to be concerned with the intentions and capabilities of the people providing the data? My research at the moment specifically involves an investigation of the present methods used to attempt VGI validation and integration.

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Maggi Sliwinski

Maggi Sliwinski

Maggi Sliwinski
School of Natural Resources

Education:

  • Ph.D., Natural Resource Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Masters of Natural Resources Management, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, 2011
  • B.S., Major in Biology and Music, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY, 2007

Research Interests: Avian ecology, sustainable agricultural systems, sustainable rural livelihoods, landscape ecology, with a focus on mixed-grass prairie social-ecological systems

Proposed Research Summary: I will be looking at the conservancy model used for large-scale land management by private landowners in a number of African nations, and trying to understand why and how these conservancies function. From this information I will attempt to determine whether a similar model may be viable for landscape-scale land management in the Great Plains of the United States. I intend to incorporate resilience theory in relation to both the ecological systems and the rural social systems of the mixed-grass prairies, where ranching is the primary land use.

Trisha Spanbauer

Trisha Spanbauer

Trisha Spanbauer
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Post-Graduation Position:

  • Postdoc, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Cincinatti, OH

Education:

  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 2015
  • B.F.A., Visual Arts and Art History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, May 2002

Research Interests: Paleoecology, paleoclimatology, resilience, evolution, ecosytems change

Proposed Research Summary: Large lakes provide long continuous records of biological proxies and chemical data that can be used to reconstruct past climate and ecosystem state and variability. My doctoral research uses these paleo-records to test whether speciation and climate change are coupled events. Fossil diatoms (algae) and geochemical data will be used to reconstruct environmental history, and, using these data, diatom speciation events will be compared to patterns of climate change. In doing so, I am expressly interested in periods of stasis, ecological regime shifts, thresholds, and the resilience of the aquatic ecosystem.

Bethany Teeters

Bethany Teeters

Bethany Teeters
School of Natural Resources

Education:

  • Ph.D., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S., Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2010
  • B.S., Biology, minor in Environmental Science, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, December 2006

Research Summary: I am a Ph.D. student in the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am broadly interested in how biodiversity contributes to the maintenance of ecosystem services and the resilience of ecosystems. More specifically, I am interested in how pollination services are influenced by the mosaic structure of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. For my doctoral research project I am examining the insect pollinator community of different types of grasslands within the Platte River watershed. The goal is to assess how ecosystem services are delivered across this landscape and determine whether differences in the provisioning of these functions are attributable to biodiversity and resource availability.

Dan Uden

Daniel Uden

Daniel Uden
School of Natural Resources

Education:

  • Ph.D., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S., School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, August 2012

Research Summary: Broadly, my research involves developing spatial and statistical models for at-risk species and communities within Nebraska, as defined by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. More specifically, current projects include explaining variation in forest tree community composition in the Missouri River bluffs of southeast Nebraska, constructing scenarios and models of landuse change for the Pine Ridge of northwest Nebraska, developing an adaptive framework for modeling and managing invasive species, conducting functional connectivity assessments for at-risk species and landscapes, relating historical landuse changes to changes in avian communities, and describing 19th century distributions of herbaceous and woody biomass in the Central and Northern Great Plains. Results of these studies will contribute to biodiversity conservation efforts in Nebraska landscapes.

D Marie Weide

Marie Weide

Denise Marie Weide
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Education:

  • Ph.D., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S., Geology, California State University Long Beach
  • Advanced Certificate in Forensic Anthropology, Mercyhurst College, 2001
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado at Denver, 1996

Research Interests: Diatom morphology

Proposed Research Summary: I will be looking at changes in diatom morphology across major climate shifts in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru.

 

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