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Undergraduate Research in ERE

The following projects are representative of the types of research in which undergraduate students engage with faculty in the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering. Projects are often undertaken through enrollment in a research methods course, and occasionally provide funded support. Products include the spectrum of project reports, oral presentations, poster display and published papers. Each year, the Department promotes student participation in the College's Spotlight on Student Research & Outreach ( Contact the Department or the project advisor for further information.

Hyporheic Exchange and the Effect of Stream Bed Topography. Utilizes hydraulic flume in the James M. Hassett Laboratory for the Study of Hydrology and Hydraulics to assess water fluxes across the water/sediment interface in stream beds. Nicholas Haas (2012), Dr. Ted Endreny.

Determination of Percolation Rate from Biosolids-amended Solvay Waste. Analyze data from 20 pan lysimeters installed at a willow-based evapotranspiration landfill cover demonstration project to determine the percolation component of the site water budget. Mackenzie Osypian (2011), Professor Doug Daley.

Development of a Water Budget for a Rain Garden. Analyze roof drainage flow data into/from a rain garden on the SUNY ESF campus to determine performance characteristics such as retention time, ET rate, percolation rate. Hilary Niver-Johnson (2011), Professor Doug Daley.

Analysis of Lead Distribution in Rain Garden Soils receiving Roof Drainage. Using portable XRF, determine lateral and vertical distribution of lead in rain garden soils that can be attributed to wash-off of atmospheric deposition on roof surfaces. Lea DellaVecchia (2011), Professor Doug Daley.

Detection and Prediction of Invasive Insects in the Northeastern United States and Canada. Prepare an annotated bibliography of published literature regarding use of remote sensing techniques to detect the presence and/or effects of invasive insects such as the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorn beetle, hemlock woolly adelgid, and Sirex woodwasp. Rachel Weiter (2013), Dr. Lindi Quackenbush.

Spatial analysis of extreme climatic events using NASA-derived products. This NASA-sponsored project focused on geographic analysis of land surface temperatures as measured by satellite sensors. The goal is to understand extreme climatic changes (e.g. repeated temperatures above expected averages) and their associated spatial and temporal extents. Paul Ang (2011), Dr. Giorgos Mountrakis.

Solids-liquid Separation of Digested Dairy Manure. Design and construction of 2 biofilters and 2 constructed wetlands and construction and operation of 6 pebble filters supporting research evaluating treatment effectiveness applied to dairy farm digester waste stream. Christopher Norton (2011), Dr. Wendong Tao.

Composting of Thickened Dairy Manure. Designed, constructed and operated a composter for treatment of thickened dairy manure to determine process efficiency based on temperature and water content. Christopher Norton (2011), Christopher Eighmey (2011), Dr. Wendong Tao.

Calculating relative sustainability of organic and conventional coffee production in Chiapas, Mexico. Use emergy analysis metrics to understand how land management in rural Mexico can be less reliant on economic inputs. Preparing a manuscript for submission to peer-reviewed international journal. Owen Hunter (2012), Eugene Law (2012), and Colby Fisher (2013), Dr. Stewart Diemont.

Water Quality Effects of Algal Growth in Reservoirs, Boulder, CO. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Water quality parameters were analyzed to develop criteria against disinfection by-product (DBP) production in several lakes and reservoirs in Colorado. An emphasis was placed on algal growth to assess the relationships between algae and dissolved organic material leading to DBP production. Cary A. Ellmers (2011). Research advisor: Dr. Diane McKnight, University of Colorado at Boulder. Academic Advisor: Dr. Ted Endreny

Alpine Vegetation Restoration. Alpine vegetation species are considered rare and endangered in New York State. Studies have shown an increase in alpine vegetation where moss is present. This project investigated the effects of moss on the recovery of alpine vegetation. Pamela Aracena (2011), Dr. Robin Kimmerer (EFB) and Dr. Stewart Diemont (ERE)

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