The Center for the Environment works with faculty to develop research projects across a wide-range of environmental issues. The following are examples of currently funded research projects in our research portfolio.
Nanoparticles in the Environment
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are currently used as bulk additives in many structural materials, and many new applications and consumer products containing CNTs are expected in the future. The environmental impact of widespread use of these materials, however, is largely unknown. This project asks the simple questions, “how long will CNTs persist in the environment?” and “what processes will lead to their transformation and/or mineralization in the environment?” in order to better understand the risks posed by these engineered nanoparticles.
Funded by the NSF and EPA
Faculty leads: Chad Jafvert and Tim Filley
Sounds are a perpetual and dynamic property of all landscapes, and as such, can be an
important metric to examine the health and integrity of an ecosystem. This project seeks to connect a network of scientist interested in a variety of projects that use natural sound as an indicator of environmental changes, such as shifts in climate, weather patterns, the presence of pollution, or other alterations to a landscape. Researchers are also investigating how planning and management strategies impact the quality and quantity of natural sounds in these environments.
Funded by the NSF
Faculty lead: Bryan Pijanowski
Renewable Energy and the Environment
One of the grand challenges in meeting the US biofuel goal is supplying large quantities of lignocellulosic materials that are produced in an environmentally sustainable and economically viable manner. This project is focused on a watershed-scale sustainability assessment of multiple species of energy crops and removal of crop residues within two watersheds in Indiana that are representative of conditions in the Upper Midwest. Early findings indicate that producing more corn for biofuels would adversely affect water quality in Indiana.
Funded by the USDA
Faculty leads: Indrajeet Chaubey and Bernie Engel
Living Laboratories on the Wabash (LLOW)
The goal of LLOW is to establish a ‘living laboratory’ that integrates discovery, learning, and outreach regarding the protection of water quality from multiple environmental threats. The immediate focus of LLOW Project is to support the newly formed Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC) to address issues related to urban riverfront revitalization and programs for studying the ecology of the River and its floodplain.
Faculty leads: Ron Turco and Linda Prokopy
Emphasis in this research area is broadly focused on developing a mechanistic understanding of the processes that govern environmental fate and remediation of contaminants for use in decision tools and to guide industrial and agricultural management practices. Specific research projects include the fate of emerging contaminants including pharmaceuticals (trenbolone, estrogens, human and veterinary antibiotics) and perfluorinated telomer compounds in soils, sediments, streams, and biosolids.
Faculty lead: Linda Lee
Global Traineeship in Sustainable Electronics
This NSF-IGERT program is aimed at developing a new model of consumption for electronics using a life cycle assessment approach that also maintains a focus on simultaneously benefiting people, planet, and profit. This innovative, integrative global education and research program to educate and train a cohort of interdisciplinary Ph.D. students to address all aspects of the challenge of designing, building, distributing, and disposing or recycling numerous electronic products, including computer and display hardware and micro chips, cellular telephones, and other devices that are now widespread in society.
Faculty lead: Carol Handwerker