Ongoing Faculty Research

Assistant Professor

 

The Goldsmith Laboratory focusses on understanding the impacts of human-caused and naturally occurring environmental change on river systems.  Currently this research is designed around three major themes: (1) understanding the source and fate of solutes, sediments, and organic carbon in high yielding tropical watersheds; (2) evaluating the relationship between land use practices and water quality in rural to urban watersheds; and (3) investigating the impacts of historical and present day energy extraction activities in watersheds.  This work is multidisciplinary in nature and incorporates biogeochemistry, hydrology, sedimentology, and environmental geology to address questions of societal importance. 

 

Current Funding:

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 2015-2017. Goldsmith ST, Rodrigues LJ, Moyer RM, Levas S. A Toolkit for Managing River Inputs to Coral Reefs (Puerto Rico). $125,454.

 

Recent/Relevant Publications:

Goldsmith ST, Harmon RS, Lyons WB, Harmon BA, Ogden FL, Gardner CB. 2015. Evaluation of controls on silicate weathering in tropical mountainous rivers: Insights from the isthmus of Panama. Geology, 43, 7: 563-566.

 

Hanley KM, Waligroski GJ, Grannas AM, Walsch MK, Smith DF, Goldsmith ST. 2015. Evaluating controls on triclosan export in a rural to suburban watershed: Insights form the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek. Abstracts with Programs – Geological Society of America, 47, 7, p. 0.

 

Schlesinger CM, Goldsmith ST. 2014. Evaluating controls on nutrient, road salt, and sediment export in a suburban watershed: Insights from the Mill Creek. Abstracts with Programs – Geological Society of America, 46, 6, p. 472.

 

For more information: goldsmithenvironmental.weebly.com/index.html

Assistant Professor

 

Research projects in the Kremer laboratory focus on conceptual and quantitative investigation of urban ecosystem services (UES) as they interact with the urban social-ecological system. In particular, we study questions of scale, thresholds, tradeoffs and synergies in the supply and demand of UES, access to and the distribution of UES, the relationship between urban structure and the provision of UES as well as the influence of land change and development policies on UES. Using interdisciplinary approaches to spatial analysis, GIS and remote sensing the lab investigates: (1) Mapping and Modeling Ecosystem Service in Social-Ecological Urban Systems; (2) Structure of Urban Landscapes and Ecological Function; (3) Transformation of urban vacant land into public use resource; and (4) Urban food systems. 

 

Recent/Relevant Publications:

Kremer P, Hamstead Z, Hasse D, McPhearson T, Frantzeskaki N et al. 2016. Key research-based insights for the future of urban ecosystem services research. Ecology and Society 21(2):29. doi.org/10.5751/ES-08445-210229.

 

Kremer P, Hamstead Z, McPhearson T. 2016. The Value of Urban Ecosystem Services: A Spatially Explicit Multicriteria Analysis of Landscape Scale Valuation Scenarios in NYC. Environmental Science & Policy. 62: 57-68 .

 

Gittleman M, Farmer C J Q, Kremer P,  McPhearson T. 2016. Estimating stormwater runoff for community gardens in New York City. Urban Ecosystems, 5. 10.1007/s11252-016-0575-8.

 

For more information: http://pelegkremer.weebly.com/

Associate Professor

 

In the Rodrigues Laboratory, research focuses on understanding the impacts of environmental stressors on marine systems, with an emphasis on tropical coral reef ecosystems.  Areas of investigation include: (1) quantifying the effect of land-based sources of pollution on nearshore reefs; (2) evaluating coral physiology under different environmental conditions; and (3) assessing different coral species for their ability to record historical and present-day stress events in their skeleton.  In combination, these studies provide a better understanding of the environmental changes that are currently occurring in marine ecosystems today, their expected future impacts, and potential management applications.

 

Current Funding:

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 2015-2017. Goldsmith ST, Rodrigues LJ, Moyer RM, Levas S. A Toolkit for Managing River Inputs to Coral Reefs (Puerto Rico). $125,454.

 

Recent/Relevant Publications:

Grottoli AG, Rodrigues LJ. 2011. Bleached Porites compressa and Monitpora capitata corals catabolize δ13C-enriched lipids. Coral Reefs. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-011-0756-0.

 

Rodrigues LJ, Grottoli AG (2006) Calcification rate and the stable carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen isotopes in the skeleton, host tissue, and zooxanthellae of bleached and recovering Hawaiian corals. Geochimica et Cosmochimca Acta 70: 2781-2789. 

Assistant Professor

Research projects in the Shakya Laboratory are focused on the topics of air pollution and environmental health. Techniques will include the use of portable instrumentation and passive sampling. Research interests of this group include: (1) Chemical composition and sources of atmospheric particulate matter in the Philadelphia region; (2) Spatial and temporal variation of air pollution in various suburbs of Philadelphia; (3) Health effects of exposure to PM2.5; (4) Personal exposure of PM2.5 at various microenvironments; (5) Temporal variation of air pollution in indoor and outdoor environments. These projects aim to provide information on spatial and temporal pattern, emission sources, and effects of air pollutants on cardiorespiratory health. This group also has research interests in developing countries and analyzing existing databases.

 

Recent/Relevant Publications:

Shakya KM, Rupakheti M, Aryal K, Peltier RE. 2016. Respiratory effects of high levels of particulate exposure in a cohort of traffic police in Kathmandu, Nepal. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Accepted.

Shakya KM, Peltier RE. 2015. Non-sulfate sulfur in fine aerosols across the United States: Insight for oganosulfate prevalence. Atmospheric Environment 100: 159-166.

Shakya KM, Philip Jr. PF, Griffin RJ, Talbot RW. 2012. Carbonaceous content and water-soluble organic functionality of atmospheric aerosols at a semi-rural New England location. Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres 117, D03301, doi: 10.1029/2011JD016113.

 

For more information: http://www.homepage.villanova.edu/kabindra.shakya

Assistant Professor

 

The Strader Research Group focuses on coupled human-environment interactions, severe and local storms, mesoscale meteorology, natural hazard vulnerability and risk, climate change, and GIScience applications in the environmental, atmospheric, and hazard sciences.  Current areas of investigation include: (1) the quantification of weather hazard vulnerability, risk, and disaster potential; (2) the relationship between land use-land cover and weather hazard exposure; (3) the employment of remote sensing techniques to assess hazard severity and damage magnitude; (4) video and LIDAR applications in disaster mitigation, response, and recovery strategies; and (5) the interrelationship between climate change and extreme atmospheric events.  An overarching theme or goal of this research is to provide essential information and analyses on atmospheric and environmental hazards to the operational forecasting community, policy makers, and public with the aim of reducing future impacts on humans and their possessions.

 

Recent/Relevant Publications:

 

Strader, S. M., T. Pingel, and W. Ashley, 2016: A Monte Carlo model for estimating tornado impacts.  Meteorological Applications. doi: 10.1002/met.1552.

 

Strader, S. M., W. Ashley, A. Irizarry, and S. Hall, 2014: A climatology of tornado intensity assessments. Meteorological Applications. 22, 513-524.

 

Strader, S. M., and W. Ashley, 2014: Cloud-to-ground lightning signatures of long-lived tornadic supercells on 27-28 April 2011. Physical Geography. 35, 273-296

 

For more information: www.stephenmstrader.org

Assistant Professor

 

Research in the Vile Laboratory focuses broadly on the biogeochemical interactions between microbes and their chemical environment, and how these exchanges affect ecosystem functions.  These complex interactions are especially important to understand in an era where humans have made a large footprint across the globe.   Using interdisciplinary, multi-scale approaches, the lab investigates the biogeochemical controls of (1) climate change induced, sea-level rise on carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous cycling in freshwater tidal wetlands of the Delaware Estuary; (2) carbon accumulation and decomposition dynamics in northern boreal, western Canadian peatlands under future predicted scenarios of global climate change; (3) the effects of anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., oil sands mining pollution and increased fire intervals) on nutrient cycles in peatlands in Alberta; and most recently, (4) the role of nitrogen fixation in bogs and fens in both pristine and compromised parts of the world.

 

Current Funding:

National Science Foundation DEB, 2012-2016. Wieder RK, Vile MA. The Paradox of Excess Nitrogen in Bogs of Western Canada: Interactive Effects of C, N and Fire Along a Chronosequence. $1,170,000.

 

Cumulative Environmental Management Association, 2011-2016. Vitt D, Vile MA, Wieder RK, Berryman S, Straker J, Watmough S, Gibson J, Birks J. Nitrogen Addition Experiments in Boreal Ecosystems to Understand the Fate of Nitrogen in These Ecosystems and to Determine Nitrogen Critical Loads. Award to VU: $2,197,601.

 

Recent/Relevant Publications:

Vile MA, Wieder RK, Živković T, Scott KD, Fillingim HM, Popma JMA, Dynarski KA, Iosue CL, Hartsock JA, Vitt DH, Petix M, Quinn JC, Wykoff DD. 2014. N2-fixation by methane oxidizing bacteria sustains high rates of carbon and nitrogen sequestration in pristine boreal peatlands. Biogeochemistry Letters 10.1007/s10533-014-0019-6.

 

Shotyk W, Belland R, Duke J, Kempter H, Krachler M, Noernberg T, Vile MA, Wieder RK, Zaccone C, Shuangquan Z. 2014. Sphagnum mosses from twenty ombrotrophic bogs in the Athabasca Bituminous Sands region shows no significant atmospheric contamination of “heavy metals” from contemporary mining activities. Environmental Science and Technology, 48 (21) 12603–12611; DOI: 10.1021/es503751v.

 

Lamers LPM, Vile MA, Grootjans AB, Acreman M, Van Diggelen R, Evans M, Richardson C, Rochefort L, Kooijman A, Roelofs JGM, Smolders AJP. 2014. Ecological restoration of fens in Europe and North America: from trial and error to an evidence-based approach. Biological Reviews 10.1111/brv.12102

 

For more information: www47.homepage.villanova.edu/melanie.vile/

Associate Professor

 

Research in the Weston Laboratory is focused on understanding the response of coastal ecosystems to climate and land-use change, and on the environmental impacts of natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale.  A combination of field measurements and manipulations, laboratory experiments, computer modeling, and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) analyses are used to better understand the vulnerabilities of coastal wetlands and watersheds. The lab investigates the biological response of plants and microbial activity to changing environmental conditions to better understand the physical processes, such as sediment supply, that determine whether wetlands will persist.  Assessing the impact of current and future land-use and climate change on wetlands in the Delaware River and other coastal systems will better inform management decisions.

 

Current Funding

National Science Foundation, 2015-2018. Human Alteration of Sediment Delivery to the Coast – Legacies of Land Use, Coastal Wetland Accretion, and Future Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise. $595,187.

 

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 2014-2015. Phosphorus Cycling in Barnegat Bay, NJ. $28,000.

 

Recent/Relevant Publications

Weston NB, Neubauer SC, Velinsky DJ, Vile MA. 2014. Net ecosystem carbon exchange and the greenhouse gas balance of tidal marshes along an estuarine salinity gradient. Biogeochemistry 120: 163-189.

 

Weston NB. 2014. Declining sediments and rising seas: An unfortunate convergence for tidal wetlands. Estuaries and Coasts 37: 1-23.

 

For more information: www.nweston.org

Contact Information

Department of Geography and the Environment
Suite G67, Mendel Science Center
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Tel: (610) 519-3337
Fax: (610) 519-3338

Chair:
Dr. Francis A. Galgano

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

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