Congratulations to our recent PhD candidate, Stephen Via! He successfully defended his dissertation proposal titled "From seed to sky: the impacts of explosive compounds on vegetation across scales". Stephen also gave an outstanding presentation to his committee members. Job well done!
A bit about his research:
The presence of explosive compounds can act as a physiological filter controlling species’ establishment and success in contaminated areas. Explosive compounds in soils have negative effects on vegetation physiological processes, affecting health and survival. The precise impacts of these contaminants vary based on many factors, such as life stage and morphological/physiological tolerances, which are species specific. Many studies have demonstrated species- and individual-level impacts of explosive compounds; however, there is little research investigating multiple explosive simultaneously (such as Composition B). This limits our understanding of impacts in the field and our ability to scale up to community and ecosystem level effects. Thus, a cross-scale approach is needed to reduce speculation.
Stephen's project objectives are to: (1) investigate the impacts of explosive compounds on seed germination and plant establishment, (2) investigate the physiological and morphological impacts of explosive compounds on plant species, (3) quantify the impacts of explosive compounds on plant community structure, and (4) detect the presence of explosive compounds via remote sensing of vegetation.