Ecohydrology Research Group University of South Florida - School of Geosciences


Leanne's newest publication

The role of headwater wetlands in generating flow for downstream waters is the subject of "Hydrologic Connectivity and Flow Generation from California Vernal Pool, Swale, and Headwater Stream Complexes to Downstream Waters". We used field data, monitoring records, and geospatial analyses to quanitfy flow generation. The results suggest these systems can be significant sources of streamflow and therefore play an important role in maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream waters, which has important implications for the defnition of waters of the United States subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. Leanne's profile »

Former undergraduate researcher with ERG has been selected to be part of the 2023 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge.

Aviva Intveld (MIT) and former Hollings Scholar co-hosted by the USF Ecohydrology Research Group and Kachemak Bay National Estuary Research Reserve is excited to start graduate school as a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge Oct 2023. In her Hollings Scholar research project, she applied a geological context to interpret the geochemistry of groundwater in the Lower Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. She presented this research at the AGU conference in Grand Rapids, MI Dec 2023. For her graduate work, she will refine the use of paleoclimate and archaeological data to better understand how the natural environments of the past shaped historic human movement and decision-making, particularly during time of drought. We are very excited for her! Cambridge Scholars Announcement »

ERG students win top awards at national meeting - Leanne awarded Best Student Oral Presentation and Edgar awarded the Best Student Poster Presentation at JASM-SWS conference

Aviva Intveld, former Hollings Scholar co-hosted by the USF Ecohydrology Research Group and Kachemak Bay National Estuary Research Reserve is excited to start graduate school as a Gates Campbridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge Oct 2023. Her Hollings Scholar research project was focused on assessment of risks to groundwater resources in the Lower Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Undergraduate Research Context »

Leanne was awarded the Mark Brinson Oral Presentation award at the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting-Society of Wetland Scientists held in Grand Rapids, MI in May 2022. This award is given "to recognize excellence in oral presentations". Leanne's award-winning talk was, "Vernal Pools, Swales, and Headwater Streams are Integrated Tributaries to Navigable Waters". Leanne will be presenting at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference Dec 2022. Come see her present "Influence of Hydrologic Connectivity on the Natural Flow Regimes of Archetypal Headwater Wetlandscapes"

Edgar won the Best Student Poster award at JASM-SWS for his poster "Groundwater Risk and Resilience in Social-Hydrological Systems". His work was further recognized by the American Geophysical Union. He was invited and funded to attend and present at the AGU Chapman Conference on "Solving Water Availability Challenges Through and Interdisciplinary Framework" Sept 2022 in Colorado.

Rivertrek- Paddling to raise funds to restore and protect the Apalachicola River

Kai participated in the annual Apalachicola Riverkeepers Rivertrek, a 5 day event in which paddlers kayak 107 miles of the Apalachicola River, camping along the way. This event is intended to raise funds to protect and restore this mighty river that delivers over 20% of the freshwater input to the Gulf of Mexico and is amongst the top five hotspots or biodiversity in the nation.

What a year for ERG graduate student Tyelyn Brigino!

Tyelyn volunteered in the ERG her senior year as an undergraduate student in Chemistry and formally joined us as a graduate student working towards her Geology M.S. degree fall 2022. During the short time she has been with us, she has collected samples and installed research monitoring equipment in Alaska, processed and analyzed her water samples, presented her research at a conference and research symposium, been selected as a finalist at the USF Graduate Research Symposium, been awarded three scholarships, and adopted a new puppy. She is headed to the Alaska again this summer to download her final set of data. We look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in the year to come! (Photo: Mark and Tyelyn collecting water samples from a spring in Alaska)

Leanne earns a travel scholarship for her award winning poster presentation

Leanne's presentation of her poster "Influence of Hydrologic Connectivity on the Natural Flow Regime of Archetypal Wetland Complexes" earned her a travel scholarship from the 2022 USF Graduate Research Symposium. Well done! Leanne's profile »

That corner is on fire

These three routinely sit side by side in the Ecohydrology Research Group lab and in 2022 managed to sweep top awards at the Geology Alumni Society Banquet. Leanne was awarded the Richard A. Davis Scholarship, Tyelyn was awarded the Craig B. Hutchinson Memorial Scholarship, and Tonian (Geophysics) was awarded the Karen D. Harrow Scholarship for Women in Geology. Rather a stunning accomplishment for this sunny corner of the lab

Recent Alum Employed as an Environmental Scientist III with the Florida Dept of Environmental Policy

Watch out Tallahassee! Savannah Fransbergen (M.S. Environmental Science & Policy, Dec 2021) has accepted a position with the FDEP after working as an environmental consultant with Cedar Creek in Colordao. Savannah completed her graduate research with the USF Ecohydrology Research Group, ground-truthing a hydrography dataset in the Tampa Bay region and conducting a geospatial analysis of the connectivity predicted by that dataset. She introduced a new field tool to our research group (mountain bikes!) and conducted her wet season explorations of wetlands with undaunted enthusiasm. We're glad to have her back in Florida workingto improve the environment

Award-Winning Poster

Edgar won the University of Florida Water Institute Symposium Student Poster Award in January 2022 for his poster on "Groundwater Vulnerability in Social-Hydrological Systems". This award comes with a plaque and $1000 for travel to his next conference. Hope he lets us tag along!

Dec 2022: Ecohydrology Graduate Students presentations

Leanne Stepchinski traveled to the American Geophysical Union conference in New Orleans to present her research with support from the Fred L and Helen M Tharp Endowed Scholaship fund. Her talk was titled: Headwater Wetlands or Headwater Streams? Hydrologic Connectivity and Flow Generation from California Vernal Depressions to Downstream Waters

Tyelyn Brigino, Edgar Guerron-Orejuela, and Leanne presented posters at the University of Florida Water Institute Conference with support from the Student Diversity Scholarship, Fred L and Helen M Tharp Endowed Scholarship fund (TB), and Margaret A Davidson scholarhip (E, G-O)

  • Tyelyn Brigino: Influence of Groundwater on Streamflow in Salmon-Bearing Streams
  • Edgar Guerron-Orejuela: Groundwater Vulnerability in Social-Hydrological Systems
  • Congratulations to Hilary for being awarded tenure!

    **Hilary Flower joins the ranks of tenured professors at Eckerd College** Hilary conducted her PhD research while in the USF Ecohydrology Research Group working on phosphorous dynamics in the Evergaldes. She continues to be an active and valued member of our group. We are thrilled to know future undergraduate students will continue to have the opportunity to learn from her and experience her enthusiasm for science!

    Recent Alum and Current Post-Graduate Researcher with NASA DEVELOP project

    Stephanie Lawlor, MS graduate 2019, has been accepted into the 2021 NASA DEVELOP National Program, which focuses on helping local and international communities address their environmental concerns while utilizing NASA's Earth-observing fleet of satellites. Specifically, she will be working on Maya Forest Water Resources II: Mapping Inundation and Wetland Extent Below the Forest Canopy in the Maya Tri-National Forest Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Recently, Stephanie has been working with the Ecohydrology Research Group as a post-graudate researcher on changes in historical drainage density and wetland distribution, (1850 to 2004), in St Lucie County, FL.

    Funding Awarded to Develop a Prioritization Tool for Restoration and Conservation Activities in the Indian River Lagoon Watershed

    The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the ERG funding to develop a tool to facilitate identification of restoration targets to enhance conditions in the Indian River Lagoon Watershed. We are excited to work towards enhancing this estuary of national significance.

  • Project Context »
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appoints Mark Rains as the Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida


    Undergraduate Researcher Pursues Interest in Groundwater

    Anna Feldman, former Hollings Scholar co-hosted by the USF Ecohydrology Research Group and Kachemak Bay National Estuary Research Reserve is excited to start graduate school Fall 2021 at the Yale School of the Environment. Her Hollings Scholar research project was focused on assessment of risks to groundwater resources in the Lower Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Undergraduate Research Context »

    Funding Awarded to Study New Technology to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

    The Ecohydrology Research Group is part of a team awarded $1 million by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Sept 2020 to research new techniques for prevention and control of harmful algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee. - View News Release

    Recent Alum Employed as a Hydrologist

    Mary Gerlach (M.S. Geology 2020) has recently been hired by Intera, a geosciences and engineering consulting firm, to work as a Hydrologist. Mary conducted her graduate research with the USF Ecohydrology Research Group, using well logs and geospatial data to predict the locations of groundwater discharge to salmon-bearing streams.

    Collaborative Efforts Result in an Animation and StoryMap

    Undergraduate students Eric Kastelic (Geology, USF) and Spencer Gordon (Digital Design, University of Rochester) collaborate with Drs. Kai and Mark Rains to produce animations and story map resources to promote understanding of the importance of groundwater resources to people and ecosystems.

    Graduate Student Secures Internships

    Chelsea Mackin secures not one, but TWO, environmental internships her final semester of graduate school. Chelsea is interning with the City of Portland, Maine, Office of Sustainability and with the McHarg Center, Univeristy of Pennsylvania Climate + Community Project. She is working on projects related to climate change and energy efficiency. Chelsea's profile »

    Undergraduate Hollings Scholars Will Conduct Summer Research with the Ecohydrology Research Group

    The Ecohydrology Research Group is pleased to announce we will be working closely with two NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholars on summer research projects related to our ongoing work on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska: Jesica Lambert from Princeton University and Everett Craddock from Louisiana State Univeristy. Both have been awarded positions with Kachemak Bay National Research Reserve. Project Context »

    Mark Rains was the Featured Speaker in the School of Geosciences Colloquium Series

    Mark spoke on our long-time collaborative work with scientists and stakeholders in southcentral Alaska. The title of the talk was "Groundwater Subsidies to Salmonid Streams: A Decade+ of Collaborative Science and Outcomes in Alaska" - View Video

    Graduate Student Awarded Two-Year Fellowship from NOAA to Pursue Cross-Disciplinary Research in Alaska

    Edgar Javier Guerrón Orejuela has been awarded a Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship from NOAA to further his research at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Homer, Alaska. This two-year fellowship is awarded to students to "address a key coastal management question to help scientists and communities understand coastal challenges that may influence future policy and management strategies".

    The Ecohydrology Research Group and the U.S. Supreme Court

    Mark Rains and three colleagues, backed by eight scientific societies and in collaboration with a national legal team, wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States on a case involving the Clean Water Act. The case, County of Maui, Petitioner, v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund; Sierra Club-Maui Group; Surfrider Foundation; West Maui Preservation Association, Respondents (2020), was argued in Fall 2019 and decided in Spring 2020. In a 6-3 decision, the Court closed a massive loophole in the Clean Water Act, affirming for the first time that pollutants that travel through groundwater and then emerge into surface waters are in fact covered by the Clean Water Act. This ruling is important affirmation of the role of science in sound federal policy and decision-making. Justice Breyer, writing for the majority, cited our amicus brief while clearly laying out the scientific justification for the Court's decision. The full court opinion can be found here: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

    Media Coverage
    Related Seminar by Mark Rains and David Kaplan (UF)