Subproject 2: Fate & Transport

Quantifying the Fate and Transport of Contaminants across Natural, Agricultural and Human Systems

Land use, water management, population growth and consumptive activities along with climate and disturbance regimes influence the sources, mobilization, transport and transformations of pollutants across land-use boundaries. The fate and environmental impact of the pollutants is governed by biogeochemical processes. CREST CAChE research in Subproject 2 will determine the hydrologic transport, fate and environmental impact of pollutants/contaminants across three major land-use boundaries (agricultural, urban and natural) in South Florida under current and potentially changing environmental conditions.

Subproject 2 will establish three transects that encompass the main transitions between agriculture, urban and natural landscapes. These transects will provide a common research platform for students and faculty to apply the detection methodologies developed from Subproject 1, quantitatively sample water quality with a common experimental design, and apply state-of-the-art hydro-dynamic modeling techniques to couple flows with contaminants. CREST CAChE will combine pollutant source data from the analytics research in Subproject 3 along with pollutant concentrations determined in Subproject 1 into the hydro-dynamic model, and work with Subproject 3 to visualize the transport and fate of pollutants across the landscape. Finally, in using these data as our initial conditions, we will collaborate with our stakeholders and Subproject 3 to provide future scenarios models to predict future conditions of a changing landscape and climate.

Goals and Objectives

Anthropogenic activities (land use, water management, population growth and consumptive activities) and natural forces (climate, hurricanes, storm surges, floods, droughts) influence the sources, mobilization, transport and transformations of pollutants across land-use boundaries. Biogeochemical processes govern the ultimate fate of these pollutants and their impacts on the environment. CREST CAChE research in Subproject 2 will determine the hydrologic transport (flux), fate (biogeochemical processes), and environmental impact of pollutants/contaminants across three major land-use boundaries in South Florida under current and potentially changing environmental conditions.

Our research will:

  1. Quantify the flux of water, nutrients, carbon, and pollutants/contaminants along transects that cross major land-use boundaries (agriculture, urban and natural).
  2. Hydro-dynamically model the flux of water and the transport of pollutants/contaminants and their associated biogeochemical processes along land-use boundary transects.
  3. Predict the potential transport of pollutants/contaminants and any adverse biological outcomes with changing land use or natural forcings.

Our team is using new sensing techniques to help determine biogeochemical cycles including contaminant sources, storage, transport and transformations. We are quantifying how contaminants move across three landscape/system transects in South Florida, particularly natural, agricultural and human/urban.

The Team

Rudolph Jaffe, Co-Lead: environmental organic geochemistry

Rene Price, Co-Lead: hydrogeology, eco-hydrology and geochemistry

Jim Fourqurean: biogeochemical cycling, ecological competition

Evelyn Gaiser: aquatic ecology, algal communities

John Kominoski: organic matter processing, biogeochemical cycling

Assefa Melesse: eco-hydrological and geospatial modeling

Len Scinto: aquatic and sediment biogeochemistry