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Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences PhD Proposal Defense by Elizabeth Ells

When: Friday, May 28, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Where: > See description for location
Description: The School for Marine Science and Technology
Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences
PhD Proposal Defense Announcement

"Nitrogen Removal Techniques: Enhancing Denitrification for Estuarine Management"

Elizabeth Ells

Dr. Brian Howes
Dr. Miles Sundermeyer
Dr. David Schlezinger

Friday, May 28, 2021
2:00 pm
Via Zoom

In coastal communities water quality effects all aspects of life. With predominantly residential development, the major pollutant of concern is nitrogen (N) generating a need for N remediation tools. My thesis focuses on three non-traditional N reduction approaches that stimulate denitrification, and identification of best practices to ensure N reduction goals are met.
In Chapter 1, I propose to assess the potential for denitrification associated with oysters, through measurement of shell, tissue, and whole live oysters, and to assess the rate and amount of denitrification from individual incubations. This effort completes a larger effort to determine the mechanisms by which oyster aquaculture can be employed as a N removal method. At present coastal communities have begun to implement aquaculture to reduce estuarine N levels.
In Chapter 2, I propose to determine if removable permeable reactive barriers will stimulate denitrification in active cranberry bogs. Deployment of permeable reactive barriers within this type of system is yet unproven, but could significantly increase N removal beyond what naturally occurs. Monitoring of the field deployments and evaluation of the nutrients both up-stream and down-stream of barriers will be used to determine the rate of N removal.
In Chapter 3, I propose to determine if aquatic plants in freshwater ponds remove more N through uptake or denitrification in associated epiphytic communities, and if they can be harvested as a N management tool. Evaluation of N uptake by plants and measurement of denitrification rates of the epiphytic community in comparison to other nutrient sources and sinks in the ecosystem will be used to determine the relative importance of each process.
The proposed work will address unknowns regarding sites and rates of denitrification in coastal systems that can be used as non-traditional cost-effective nitrogen reduction techniques that can be deployed in coastal watersheds to meet communities’ Clean Water Act requirements.
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Meeting ID: 950 2939 4076
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For additional information, please contact Sue Silva at
Contact: > See Description for contact information
Topical Areas: School for Marine Sciences and Technology, SMAST Seminar Series