We research how human activity affects the water and nutrient cycles that sustain all life on Earth. Our current projects investigate water chemistry in river networks undergoing permafrost degradation in Alaska, nutrient pollution in agricultural and urban landscapes around the world, and interactions among people, wildfire, and water quality in the Utah Lake watershed. We also use expert assessment methods to explore how sub-sea permafrost, air pollution, wildfire, and water security respond to environmental changes.
We are always looking for creative and motivated students to help address these important environmental and societal issues. Click here to find out how to join the team!
PhD student Sara Sayedi wanted to use science to change public policy in her home country of Iran, but politics limited her work in the public arena. Now at BYU, she is influencing policy at a global scale.
Research by BYU ecosystem ecologist Ben Abbott presents a new tool to fight nutrient pollution. His study found that streams can be used as “sensors” of ecosystem health, allowing both improved water quality and food production.
When Keely Song moved to Utah in 2016, she was jarred by what she called the “apocalyptic” talk about air quality during the state’s notorious inversions. So when BYU announced in November it would be providing free UTA passes to students, employees and their families, the dance professor had an idea.
Nitrogen pollution from human fertilizer and fossil fuels affects two-thirds of freshwater bodies worldwide and causes billions of dollars of damage to fisheries and ecosystems annually. It triggers harmful algal blooms and dead zones where only worms and bacteria can survive.
Although separated by space and time, our emissions have a great impact on ecosystems across the globe, and those systems are responding. Plant and wildlife sciences professor, Dr. Ben Abbott, has been studying these ecosystem responses and recently published research with Dr. Merritt Turetsky, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado Boulder, on permafrost collapse in arctic ecosystems.