Discipline: Ecology, Environmental & Earth Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
Todd Crowl - Florida International University
Co-Author(s): Scott Graham, Rita Teutonico, and Piero Gardinali, Florida International University
The Center for Aquatic Chemistry & Environment (CAChE) at Florida International University (FIU) is a National Science Foundation Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) that tackles one of the region’s most complex challenges: environmental contamination. Pollutants such as pesticides, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nutrients, oil, and metals are having devastating effects on ecosystems and the plants, animals and humans who depend on them. The Center’s mission is to address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions. CREST CAChE is transforming cutting-edge research into technological and science-based solutions for various forms of water contamination, using a framework that includes three collaborative Subprojects. The first subproject focuses on detection and identification; extending our current technologies and approaches for measuring anthropogenic contaminants, pollutants and other chemical stressors. The second deals with transport and fate in complex ecosystems; using new sensing techniques to determine biogeochemical cycles, contaminant sources, storage, transport and transformations across South Florida’s natural, agricultural, and human/urban landscapes. Finally, the third subproject involves data synthesis and visualization; assessing the effects on South Florida’s fragile aquatic ecosystems, to convey environmental impacts to policy- and decision-makers. To accomplish this, CREST CAChE is integrating undergraduate and graduate programs across 10 departments and 4 colleges at FIU, from Biology and Chemistry to Computer Sciences and Public Health. The Center will create opportunities for FIU students – 75% of whom are historically underrepresented minorities – to experience authentic, innovative, and socially-relevant environmental research, and foster their development as future professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The guiding principle behind CREST CAChE is to understand nature, ‘one molecule at a time’ and to train the next generation of scientists who will carry this initiative forward!
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation CREST program
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,