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Sheila Saia

Sheila Saia

PhD Candidate, BEE

Research Focus:

The goal of my research is to improve water quality by gaining a better understanding of the linkages between soil microbes, hydrology and the transport of phosphorus in the landscape.  Phosphorus is found naturally in the environment at very small concentrations but human sources of phosphorus have been shown to initiate algal blooms.  The process of algal decomposition consumes oxygen that surrounding aquatic plants and animals need to survive.  With these water quality issues in mind, my research focuses on quantifying the importance of bacteria that accumulate and release phosphorus under certain environmental conditions.  I will try to determine to what extent these bacteria contribute to phosphorus release (compared to chemical and physical processes) and what factors control the bacterially mediated uptake and release of phosphorus in soils and streams.