Geology Professor Laura Triplett Receives NSF Grant

Posted on April 12th, 2012 by

Assistant Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies Laura Triplett

Gustavus Adolphus College Assistant Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies Laura Triplett has been awarded a grant totaling more than $137,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct biogeochemical research over the next three years. The grant was awarded through the Earth Sciences division of NSF, with a particular focus on research at an undergraduate institution.

“My research will evaluate the role of riverbank vegetation in the transfer of silicon, a natural element, from land to sea via rivers,” Triplett said. “Rivers are the primary source of silicon to coastal ocean ecosystems, where it is an important nutrient for some algae and other organisms at the base of the food chain. However, recent human activities have decreased the amount of silicon flowing down rivers, and one issue that has not yet been studied is whether vegetation change within river channels – and, in particular, the introduction of invasive species – has also decreased how much silicon reaches coastal oceans.”

Dr. Triplett will begin the work this summer with her collaborators, Dr. Karin Kettenring from Utah State University and Dr. Michal Tal from the University of Aix-Marseille in France, along with two Gustavus student researchers, Zach Wagner ’13 and Lance Erickson ’14. The group will study silicon dynamics in Phragmites australis, an invasive species of grass wreaking havoc on the Platte River in Nebraska.

The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion, it is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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