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Rock Island, IL, United States

Heine R.A.,Augustana College at Rock Island | Pinter N.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Hydrological Processes | Year: 2012

This study used stream gauge records to assess the impact of levees on flood levels, providing an empirical test of theoretical and model predictions of the effects on local flood response. Focusing upon a study area in Illinois and Iowa for which levee records were available, we identified 203 gauges with≥50years hydrological record, including 15 gauges where a levee was constructed during the period of record. At these sites, step-change analysis utilizing regression residuals tested levee-related stage changes and levels of significance and quantified the magnitudes of stage changes. Despite large differences in stream sizes, levee alignments, and degree of floodplain constriction, the post-levee rating-curve adjustments showed consistent signatures. For all the study sites, stages for below bankfull (non-flood) conditions were unaffected by levee construction. For above bankfull (flood) conditions, stages at sites downstream of their associated levees also were statistically indistinguishable before versus after levee construction. However, at all sites upstream of levees or within leveed reaches, stages increased for above bankfull conditions. These increases were abrupt, statistically significant, and generally large in magnitude - ranging up to 2.3m (Wabash River at Mt. Carmel, IL). Stage increases began when discharge increased above bankfull flow and generally increased in magnitude with discharge until the associated levee(s) were overtopped. Detailed site assessments and supplementary data available from some sites helped document the dominant mechanisms by which levees can increase flood levels. Levee construction reduces the area of the floodplain open to storage of flood waters and reduces the width of the floodplain open to conveyance of flood flow. Floodplain conveyance often is underestimated or ignored, but Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements analysed here confirm previous studies that up to 70% or more of the total discharge during large floods (~3% chance flood) can move over the floodplain. Upstream of levees and levee-related floodplain constriction, backwater effects reduce flow velocities relative to pre-levee conditions and, thus, increase stages for a given discharge. The empirical results here confirm a variety of theoretical predictions of levee effects but suggest that many one-dimensional model-based predictions of levee-related stage changes may underestimate actual levee impacts. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ANTARCTIC EARTH SCIENCES | Award Amount: 190.37K | Year: 2013

Intellectual Merit:
This proposal requests support for research on Early Jurassic vertebrate fauna of the Beardmore Glacier region of Antarctica. The project will support preparation and systematic and paleobiological research on four Antarctic dinosaurs, including two new species, collected in the Central Transantarctic Mountains. With the new material Cryolophosaurus will become one of the most complete Early Jurassic theropods known, and thus has the potential to become a keystone taxon for resolving the debated early evolutionary history of theropod dinosaurs, the group that gave rise to birds. Two new dinosaur specimens include a nearly complete articulated skeleton of a juvenile sauropodomorph, and the articulated hip region of another small individual. Both appear to be new taxa. The dinosaurs from the Hanson Formation represent some of the highest paleolatitude vertebrates known from the Jurassic. The PIs will generate CT datasets for Cryolophosaurus and the more complete new sauropodomorph species to mine for phylogenetic trait information, and to investigate their comparative neuroanatomy and feeding behavior. Histological datasets will be generated from multiple skeletal elements for all four Mt. Kirkpatrick taxa to understand patterns of growth in different clades of polar dinosaurs and compare them to relatives from lower paleolatitudes. This paleohistological study of a relatively diverse sample of sauropodomorph taxa from Antarctica may contribute to determining whether and how these dinosaurs responded to contemporary climatic extremes.

Broader impacts:
The PIs have established a successful undergraduate training program as part of previous research. Summer interns from Augustana are trained at the Field Museum in specimen preparation, curation, molding/casting, and histological sampling. They also participate in existing Field Museum REU programs, including a course on phylogenetic systematics. Four undergraduate internships and student research projects will be supported through this proposal. The PIs will develop a traveling exhibit on Antarctic Mesozoic paleontology that they estimate will be seen by 2.5 million people over the five-year tour.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 299.83K | Year: 2014

With funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, this project will address the established and growing national need to improve quantity and increase quality of the high school teaching workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will work closely with partner institutions to build an infrastructure to: (i) recruit and educate students to become highly qualified STEM high school teachers, especially for high-needs schools and (ii) provide several levels of support for future and current STEM teachers. A particular focus will be to educate and support Native American students to become STEM teachers. The Project Team from Augustana College will work closely with personnel from partner institutions, which include tribal colleges Sisseton Wahpeton College and Sinte Gleska University as well as Iowa Lakes Community College to reach out to high-needs high schools in the Sioux Falls Public Schools and surrounding rural and remote districts to provide special opportunities for students from all of these institutions to become STEM teachers and then to place these teachers in high-needs areas. The process will include building capacity to provide educational, mentoring, and financial support for future STEM teachers and networking opportunities for current and future teachers.

The investigators will take a comprehensive approach to restructure the STEM secondary education program at Augustana College to implement initiatives that feature two main components: (1) the recruitment and support of a diverse pool of talented high school and community college students with an interest in becoming high school science and mathematics teachers and (2) the development and inclusion of an innovative interdisciplinary STEM major that will allow any graduate to teach more competently across the STEM disciplines. The support component will include longitudinal mentorship and financial support throughout college training and into the professional classroom, and will also include the creation of STEM Teachers Network to serve as a mentorship and professional development entity for both current and future teachers. The interdisciplinary program will include significant coursework spanning the STEM fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics as well as a STEM disciplinary emphasis area in one of these fields. A critical aspect of student academic training in this program will be the inclusion of cultural competence for teachers to enhance a teachers ability to navigate a diverse cultural landscape with empathy and introspection, and to evaluate and interpret cultural encounters with students, to lead to a better understanding of both verbal and non-verbal communication in a learning context. As part of this Robert Noyce Capacity Building project, the Project Team will begin the process of addressing data needs and conducting research on how cultural competency training for pre-service STEM teachers influence teaching and learning outcomes in the high school classroom, especially for rural areas and areas with diverse populations.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NUCLEAR STRUCTURE & REACTIONS | Award Amount: 149.31K | Year: 2013

This award makes possible the creation of a new scientic program and laboratory at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, devoted to the study of the strong nuclear force, the force responsible for the binding of protons and neutrons in a nucleus. The central question that will be studied in this award is an understanding of the kinematics of low-energy gluons, the particles that mediate the strong force, in the nucleus. This will be studied with the construction of a new detector component to be added to the PHENIX experiment that will measure small angle production of neutral pions and direct photons in p+A collisions. The rate of production is directly related to the kinematics of the gluon in the nucleus A. In parallel, the group will be performing data analysis to become familiar with the existing detector and learn how to best combine the current detector and the new extension.

This program in strong nuclear physics will be the first of its kind in South Dakota. It provides those in the state and the region access to studying this physics where they have little opportunity. The award will fund research for undergraduates studying both physics and pre-engineering. The educational benefit for the students is broad. Both data analysis and detector development will be conducted, skills which are of general use to any physics or engineering field. Their research experience will teach or reinforce skills learned in computer science, mathematics, and in physics. For beginning undergraduates, research in this area will introduce them early to more advanced concepts giving them additional exposure aiding the learning process. Those interested in engineering will benefit from the detector testing and development that will be done on site. Further, since science is not done alone, students will travel to other institutions and to Brookhaven National Laboratory to help install and maintain the detector. This will provide them with opportunities to meet scientists from around the world and put them in contact with potential graduate schools.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NUCLEAR STRUCTURE & REACTIONS | Award Amount: 123.84K | Year: 2014

This award supports research at Augustana College (a small, undergraduate-only, liberal arts institution) to understand the structure of radioactive nuclei that have many excess neutrons. The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University (MSU) produces radioactive beams with these excess neutrons. The beams are incident upon a target and the products of the nuclear reactions are measured in a variety of subatomic particle detectors. An important part of the project is the involvement of undergraduate students in these experiments and in development of the necessary detector instrumentation. Undergraduate research experience is important for many future technical careers as well as for graduate school. The funds for this award support the work of the undergraduates and the principle investigator to design and run experiments at NSCL, to analyze data, and to give talks and write papers on the results.

Experiments on exotic nuclear systems are necessary to place constraints on modern theoretical models. The nuclei studied as part of this project are neutron-unbound, which means that a neutron is emitted from a nucleus shortly after formation. Since the nuclei are so unstable, the radioactive nuclear ion beam at NSCL is utilized for these experiments. The charged particle left over after neutron emission is bent by the Sweeper Magnet into a suite of charged particle detectors. The emitted neutron is detected by the MoNA-LISA (Modular Neutron Array and the Large-area multi-Institutional Scintillator Array). The research in this proposal involves data analysis of neutron-unbound nuclear systems and on-going equipment development. New data on the 24O(d,p) reaction will be taken to study negative parity states in 25O. The Augustana-MSU hodoscope, assembled, tested and installed by the Augustana nuclear group, is a key device for this experiment. In addition, the PI will work on the design, construction, and use of a new segmented target system for future experiments.

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