Aquatic Chemistry and Ecotoxicology
Bryan Brooks (Department of Environmental Studies) directs interdisciplinary research in aquatic chemistry and ecotoxicology in collaboration with Dr. C. Kevin Chambliss (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University) in the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research.
Lake and Reservoir Productivity
In the limnology program at Baylor, we are investigating factors that govern rates of production among bacterio- and phytoplankton in lakes and reservoirs. These factors include suspended clay, dissolved oxygen and the structure of the predator community.
The role of vegetated riparian buffers in terms of reducing upslope inputs into streams is well characterized. However, research conducted at Baylor indicates a secondary function of riparian corridor related to indirect extraction of streamwater under specific conditions. Woody plant growth adjacent to perennial streams decrease soil water relative to stream elevations thus inducing lateral flow of water into banks during drought periods. Investigation of tree physiology utilizing thermal dissipation probes and isotopic measurement of tree cores coupled with detailed soil, ground, and stream water information paint a picture of a complex water budget in which trees take up water from streams. This invites future work on whether woody material may reflect past water pollutant materials such as pesticide and pharmaceutical compounds for which the flux and concentration may be extracted from current research.
The Center for Spatial Research is made up of an interdisciplinary team of scientists who utilize spatial analysis in advanced research and development as well as educational activities.
Models of watersheds, wetlands, and water bodies provide insight into potential processes of interconnection, limiting factors, and areas for research. By incorporating spatial information about watershed morphology, soil, vegetation, reservoir bathymetry, the ecological processes of aquatic systems with their associated terrestrial inputs is given context and perspective.
Lake Waco Wetlands
Water is of central importance to humanity and among the earth's most precious resources. Because water is integral to all life processes, there are no alternatives that can substitute for it, and water affects every aspect of human existence.