The Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University is participating in a statewide research project on Ecosystems and Society funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program. Coordinated by NH EPSCoR at the University of New Hampshire, the project brings together researchers from around the state and provide critical information for state decision makers.
The research is aimed at better understanding the complex interactions among climate, land use, ecosystem function, and society. The project coordinates multiple disciplines of science, sociology, and engineering to increase human, social, and infrastructural capital for competitive research. This is essential to strengthen the management and policy decision capacity in New Hampshire concerning ecosystems and their services to, and interactions with, society.
CFE is involved with several aspects of the project:
- NHLoVoTECS: CFE is overseeing a network of 100 water quality sensors around New Hampshire streams and rivers. This Lotic Volunteer Network will help us collect data on Temperature, Electrical Conductivity, Stage (LoVoTECS Network). We are coordinating with watershed groups, the White Mountain National Forest, students, and volunteers on this network of sensors which measure water temperature, specific electrical conductivity and water height at a 4-minute frequency to provide information about the hydrology of watersheds around the state. Data from these sensors also allows us to understand the impact of human activities (for example, land use or road salt application) on the hydrology and water quality across many streams and rivers in the State. Combined with terrestrial sensors, remote sensing, citizen-science engagement, and laboratory analysis, the aquatic network is contributing to significant advancements in understanding the impact of changes in land use, snow cover and ecosystem function. This analysis allows for better understanding of the historical effects of climate, land use, and demographic changes; an examination of the potential impacts on ecosystem function of future scenarios of change; and to provides data to policy makers to enable better decision-making.
- Ecosystem Services: CFE is involved in assessing aquatic ecosystem services throughout New Hampshire. This work will help people to understand the values we place on our ecosystems and the services they provide.
- Environmental Education: The data collected from NH LoVoTECS is being used to assist local schools in environmental education and the dissemination of the science. Through teacher summer institutes and partnerships with other 2-year/4-year institutions, public/private and formal/non-formal education providers throughout the state, CFE is leading this environmental education effort.
- NH LoVoTECS Network (aquatic sensor network): contact Mark Green or Errin Volitis
- Ecosystem Services: contact Shannon Rogers
- Environmental Education: contact Doug Earick