Successful defenses

Congratulations to Savannah Bryant and Amelia Nelson for successfully defending their master theses. Savannah’s thesis examines seasonal dynamics in reactive manganese exchange between river water and groundwater in a high-elevation river. After graduation, Savannah will continue her work for the USGS in Columbus. Amelia’s thesis examines linkages between river-groundwater interaction, riverbed chemistry, and microbial communities. Amelia is off to Colorado State to begin a PhD in geomicrobiology with Professor Mike Wilkins. Congratulations are also in order for Jonathan Bell, who defended his senior thesis with research distinction on natural fluoride contamination in Tanzania. Jonathan is embarking on a USGS internship in Tacoma. Kudos to all!

Openings for grad students/postdocs

We have open positions for one post-doctoral scientist and 2 graduate students on funded NSF and USAID projects in my lab group. Winter start dates are possible. A brief summary of funded projects is below. If interested, please send an email to sawyer sawyer.143 [at] and include your resume and GPA. Students and post-doctoral scientists with experience or interest in numerical modeling are particularly encouraged to apply.

USAID and Coca-Cola – We aim to understand groundwater recharge in fractured bedrock aquifers in Tanzania. The student on the project will travel to Tanzania to assist in leading a training workshop at the University of Dodoma.

NSF – Our aim is to understand the effect of water table fluctuations on redox chemistry in floodplain aquifers using controlled laboratory experiments and reactive transport models.
NSF – We are studying the effects of log jams on stream-groundwater mixing using field and numerical experiments. The student or post-doc on the project will assist with field research in the Rocky Mountains.

Deon Knights receives IAGC and GSA Student Research Grants

Congratulations to Deon Knights, who has received two grants from IAGC and GSA in support of his doctoral research. Deon is studying nutrient removal in deltas and will use the awards to support field measurements in Wax Lake Delta, Louisiana and analyze water samples.

Benthic chamber measurements

PhD student Deon Knights is studying nutrient removal in wetlands using benthic chamber experiments. Yesterday, he took advantage of spring weather to test out his method in the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park on campus. This summer, he will head to Wax Lake, Louisiana to measure nutrient removal in reclaimed coastal wetlands.

Amelia Nelson receives GSA Graduate Research Award

Amelia Nelson received a Graduate Student Research Award from the Geological Society of America to support field work for her research, “Hydrologic controls on streamed microbiology and geochemistry in an alpine river.” Congratulations, Amelia!

Audrey Sawyer receives NSF CAREER Grant

Audrey Sawyer received an early career award from the National Science Foundation to study the influence of water table fluctuations on reactive solute transport in floodplain aquifers. The award will also help establish a hydrogeology learning lab at Mirror Lake in the heart of Ohio State’s campus.

OSU receives new monitoring well for groundwater education

On Thursday, Professor Sawyer’s Water Issues class looked on as a well was drilled in our backyard. The 120-foot well penetrated two cavities in the Columbus Limestone. Students had the opportunity to describe cuttings and learn about rotary drilling. The well was generously donated by Jamison Drilling and will serve as a centerpiece in the new Mirror Lake Hydrogeology Learning Lab. The Hydrogeology Learning Lab, to be completed this spring, will provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on field activities during lectures and labs. Photo Credit: John H Fulton.



Measuring wintertime streambed temperatures

Students Amelia Nelson, Alexandra Covault, and advisor Audrey Sawyer tested new temperature probes in a tributary of Darby Creek just outside Columbus. The water was near freezing, but what a great afternoon outdoors! We observed temperature anomalies consistent with surface water-groundwater exchange around a gravel bar.

Welcome Zaina!

This semester, we welcome visiting doctoral student Zaina Hussein from University of Dodoma in Tanzania. Zaina is collaborating on an assessment of groundwater access and quality in rural Tanzania. She will also receive training in groundwater modeling, which she will use in groundwater management studies and pass on to her students at University of Dodoma. Learn more about Zaina’s visit in an interview here: