Riverine Sedimentology

A mountainous landscape with many pine trees in the middle and background, a lake in the middle ground, and Kira standing in the righthand foreground.
Above: Me standing near Lake Irwin, a campground a bit west of Crested Butte, Colorado. 
Amelia Nelson standing along the gravelly-edge of the East River. Amelia is in the foreground with her back to us as she takes a picture of a red-brown cow drinking from the river's edge. Mountains are in the background.
Above: Amelia Nelson (now PhD candidate at Colorado State) taking a photo of a cow drinking from the edge of the East River near Crested Butte, Colorado. 

Undergraduate Research

My undergraduate thesis was focused on alpine riverine sedimentology, titled, "Geomorphic and Sedimentological Controls on Hyporheic Flow in an Alpine River" (link). This research was advised by Dr. Audrey Sawyer at The Ohio State University (Dr. Sawyer's website). I had the opportunity to work as a field assistant to graduate students in Dr. Sawyer's lab that were working on a Scientific Funding Area near Crested Butte, CO in August 2018.

Among the main sample and data collection, my project incorporated over 40 sediment grab samples from the water-riverbed interface over a 200-meter meander in the East River. I conducted grain size analyses on these samples to produce a map of approximate grain size throughout the meander. Pairing these results with a map of vertical head measurements collected throughout the meander, we showed that the bedforms in the river (i.e., pools vs. riffles) had a greater control on surface water and groundwater interactions (upwelling vs. downwelling) than grain size on the meander scale in this alpine river. 

Publications have come from this work, including but not limited to: 

Nelson, A.R., Sawyer, A.H., Gabor, R.S., Saup, C.M., Bryant, S.R., Harris, K.D., Briggs, M.A., Williams, K.H., and Wilkins, M.J., Heterogeneity in hyporheic flow, pore water chemistry, and microbial community composition in an alpine streambed. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 124, 3465-3478, doi: 10.1029/2019JG005226, 2019.

Dataset doi: 10.15485/1507800

Saup, C.M., Bryant, S.R., Nelson, A.R., Harris, K.D., Sawyer, A.H., Christensen, J.N., Tfaily, M.M., Williams, K.H., and Wilkins, M.J., Hyporheic zone microbiome assembly is linked to dynamic water mixing patterns in snowmelt-dominated headwater catchments. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 124, 3269-3280, doi: 10.1029/2019JG005189, 2019.

Dataset doi: 10.15485/1504779

A cute marmot sitting in front of its burrow hole that it dug underneath the deck of a cabin.
Above: A marmot looking at me before going back to its home underneath a cabin porch at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado (August 2018).