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REU Student Research Opportunities

Research projects specifically designed for REU students.


Barbara Bellows, Ph.D.

Research interests: sustainable landscape management

Students working with Dr. Bellows will (1) assess impacts of managed grazing practices on the transition of pastures to prairies, (2) assess impacts of soil management and soil quality characteristics on nitrogen and phosphorus transport, and (3) analyze the impacts of land use changes on soil and water characteristics across various spatial scales.


Robert Cavazos, Ph.D.

Research interests: environmental policy, geospatial analyses

Students working with Dr. Cavazos will (1) examine the history surrounding the proposed dam and build an opposition plan, (2) use GIS to determine the buffer impacts of ephemeral watersheds and the sociological impacts they impose, and (3) assess water consumption and the politics surrounding water scarcity.


Victoria Chraibi, Ph.D.

Research interests: limnology, paleoecology

Students working with Dr. Chraibi will (1) conduct a biodiversity assessment of algae and zooplankton in the Colorado River, (2) develop diatom-based indices for water quality characteristics including turbidity, flow level, pH, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and (3) collect sediment cores from the river basin to analyze microfossil and trace geochemical records of ephemeral river flow, agricultural activities, and trophic dynamics.


Kristin Herrmann, Ph.D.

Research interests: aquatic ecology, parasitology

Students working with Dr. Herrmann will (1) determine the distribution and abundance of freshwater mussel species along the boundaries of TBFS, (2) determine abundance of fish species parasitized by mussel larva, and (3) assess threats to known populations such as habitat alterations, low flow water quality requirements, environmental contaminants, and pathogens.



Christopher Higgins, Ph.D.

Research interests: community ecology, ichthyology

Students working with Dr. Higgins will (1) monitor the effects of grazing on patterns of secondary succession, (2) restore native vegetation to increase habitat and connectivity for monarch butterflies, and (3) examine functional, phylogenetic, and taxonomic diversity of freshwater fishes in Texas.



Jesse Meik, Ph.D.

Research interests: developmental biology, herpetology

Students working with Dr. Meik will (1) quantify patterns of amphibian diversity and habitat associations at TBFS, (2) use geometric morphometrics to compare developmental plasticity of cave and surface-dwelling salamanders, and (3) examine relationship between water quality and salamander occurrence along the Colorado River basin.


Allan Nelson, Ph.D.

Research interests: floristics, plant ecology

Students working with Dr. Nelson will (1) examine plant distributions for presence and absence of species at TBFS, (2) quantify bottomland vegetation along the river using measures of density and dominance, and (3) compare data to a nearby state park. 


Rajani Srinivasan, Ph.D.

Research interests: environmental chemistry

Students working with Dr. Srinivasan will (1) use the latest technology to test the efficiency of plant based polysaccharides in the bioremediation of waters contaminated by heavy metals, nitrates and phosphates and (2) assess the efficiency of polysaccharide-based flocculants in removal of coliforms and other microorganisms in contaminated waters along the Colorado River. 


Kartik Venkataraman, Ph.D.

Research interests: environmental engineering

Students working with Dr. Venkataraman will (1) analyze the impacts of agricultural activities on water quality along the Colorado River, (2) examine spatial and temporal variation in groundwater vulnerability, and (3) investigate the spatio-temporal changes in the Colorado River Basin for better understanding the potential impacts on future water availability and planning.


Lance Whaley, Ph.D.

Research interests: environmental chemistry

Students will work with Dr. Whaley will use tree cores to analyze recent hydrodynamic regime throughout the middle Colorado River with particular emphasis on TBFS.