Participating Students - Kyle Maurer

 

Kyle Maurer
The Ohio State University
Environmental Engineering
Enrollment Year: 2009
Email Address: k-maurer at onu.edu
Atmosphere Mentor: Gil Bohrer, The Ohio State University
Biosphere Mentor: Peter Curtis, The Ohio State University

Kyle received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University in 2009. While at Ohio Northern, Kyle took part in two undergraduate research opportunities under Dr. Bruce Berdanier. The first research involved the phosphorus adsorption capabilities of the diatom Didymosphenia Geminata. The diatom has recently become prevalent in the waters of Rapid Creek in Rapid City, South Dakota. This research looked at the possibility of using the diatom as a cost effective treatment process for phosphorus and heavy metal removal in drinking water. The second research was with a group of professors and students from Ohio, South Dakota, and Jordan. For this he traveled to the mining city of Erdenet, Mongolia to analyze the effect that their copper mines were having on its surroundings.

Currently, Kyle is working with Dr. Gil Bohrer of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Sciences at Ohio State University. His research looks at the atmosphere-biosphere interaction, specifically what effects canopy structure has on ecology, dispersion, fluxes, and micro-meteorology.

Research

Current atmospheric modeling represents both the biosphere and the atmosphere directly above the forest canopy as coarse boundary conditions. The biosphere is expressed as a 2-D surface that does not take into account specific qualities of the forest canopy (i.e. canopy height and crown size). Directly above the forest canopy, it is assumed that mixing allows us to ignore canopy heterogeneity. Present research suggests that a more high-resolution 3-D canopy is needed for a more accurate representation of the interaction between biosphere and atmosphere. This research will utilize the UMBS FASET and AmeriFlux sites to study the canopy structure and to further develop the RAFLES atmospheric modeling software developed by Dr. Bohrer. This software simulates the interactions among these canopy structures and wind, as well as fluxes of water vapor, heat, and CO2 using a biosphere-atmosphere high resolution large eddy simulation model that resolves 3-D explicit forest canopies. My hypothesis is that by taking the explicit 3D canopy structure into account, we will be able to model phenomena such as increased fluxes over gaps, tree-scale patterns of soil moisture, and modifications to the effective aerodynamic roughness length of the forest. These phenomena, with strong effects on both the forest ecology and the atmosphere, cannot be resolved with a coarse model that does not resolve tree-scale structures at the biosphere-atmosphere interface. Along with atmospheric modeling, closed system automated chambers previously installed at the FASET and AmeriFlux sites at UMBS will be used to quantify links between soil respiration and the turbulent dynamics of the canopy.