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Environmental Conservation

The Acid Rain Monitoring Project began at the University of Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center in 1983. The project's mission was initially to develop a comprehensive picture of the sensitivity of Massachusetts surface waters to acid deposition, and later evolved to determine long-term trends in this sensitivity.

Project website.

This project utilizes robotic submersible technology to characterize submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) blooms in the Charles River (MA) at the organismal, molecular and atomic levels. Data from this research will be useful in devising methodologies to control SAV contamination in the waterways of Massachusetts and other regions of the Northeast.

Grant Award Year: 2012-2013

 

Hypothetical bias is a major problem in the economic valuation of ecosystem services. Because of this bias, the estimated value of ecosystem services may often be in error. The purpose of this research is to devise and test an improved method for the elimination of hypothetical bias.

Classical biological control provides a sustainable, green method of controlling invasive pests permanently. The number of such pests increases yearly with each new invasion. The separate objectives in this project address a series of such invaders. The intended outcome of each objective (project) is to safely and permanently lower the density of the pest and avoid the damage it causes. Outcomes will be healthier forests and other natural ecosystems and reduced pesticide use in crops.

The purpose of this research is to identify the microbial community constituents of mosquito midgut contents in order to identify new pathogens and functional gut microbes.

High levels of tungsten were recently detected in Massachusetts Military Reservation groundwater. This prompted the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense to declare the metal as an emerging contaminant. This project aims to design and synthesize the renewable biopolymer chitosan into novel nano-constructs that will efficiently remove tungsten from dilute aqueous solutions. Undergraduate students will systematically identify the sorption properties and mechanisms for an assortment of chemically and physically modified chitosans.

The UMass Amherst Blackstone River Water Quality Study was initiated in 2004 to develop a watershed management tool for the Blackstone River basin. This effort was funded by the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD) and was conducted with the support of the Cambridge, Mass. office of Camp Dresser and McKee (CDM), now CDM-Smith. The study was initiated to enhance the overall understanding of flow and water quality characteristics of the river.

The Building Energy Extension Program conveys current energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building science information to stakeholders including those in the building trades, design professionals, state government agencies, and building owners and occupants through workshops, web publication, and consulting. Applied research in building energy systems and is conducted to respond to perceived stakeholder need.

Bursaphelenchus antoniae, a species of nematode associated with pine weevils and maritime pine, was first described in 2006 in Leiria, north-western Portugal. The nematode has evolved with the pine weevil, and the pine weevil carries the nematode to dead and dying trees where the weevil lays its eggs. During egg laying, the nematode leaves the weevil and invades the tree where it feeds on fungi that have colonized the tree internally. Inoculations in Portugal with B. antoniae showed that this nematode was not pathogenic to maritime pine, a pine native to Portugal.

The vast majority of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts have volunteer planning boards and zoning boards of appeal. These boards have significant decision-making power over zoning, development, natural resource protection, and other important land use issues that relate to the well being of the environment. With the complexity of changing state regulations and without dedicated professional staff, many board members struggle to stay informed of new developments, and the tools and techniques that can promote better decisions or avoid unnecessary or costly appeals.

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