Spring 2015: Not Offered
Watershed Cycles and Processes (WCP) focuses on freshwater fluxes and the movement of waterborne chemicals within watersheds. The objective of WCP is to provide students with the experience, knowledge, and skills necessary to evaluate and predict hydrological and biogeochemical processes within inland watersheds.
The course will involve field-based research and mathematical modeling. By working at a nearby field site, students will learn how to measure properties suitable for characterizing the flows and quality of stream waters and groundwaters. Students will use the data they collect in the field to inform the development and application of mathematical models. These models account for coupled hydrological and biogeochemical processes and simulate how water quality and flows respond to natural processes (e.g., weather) and anthropogenic activities that occur within the watershed boundaries.
WCP will center on instructor-supervised, student-driven projects conducted in the F&ES experimental watershed (i.e., the Yale Swale). Students may work alone or in small groups to address various, but complementary, questions regarding the water-related cycles and processes of this urban watershed. Some projects may emphasize field-based observations or experiments, while others may be oriented towards mathematical modeling. Collectively, the findings from the student projects should lead to a comprehensive understanding of the Swale’s hydrology and biogeochemistry.
Potential project topics include, but are not limited to, stream-flow response to rainfall and snowmelt; fate and transport of stream-water chemicals; watershed erosion and sediment transport; carbon cycling and export; interactions between groundwater and surface water; and impervious-surface development and stream-flow alteration. Most of these projects could be either field-based or modeling-based or involve both field work and modeling.