When nutrients like nitrogen enter streams, they contribute to the growth of biofilms. How quickly this happens depends on a number of factors. Does the rate at which water flows through stream channels (what scientists call flow velocity) affect nitrogen processing and the growth of biofilms, a hallmark of healthy streams?
Visiting scientist Clara Mendoza-Lera has arrived at Stroud™ Water Research Center from Germany to find out. She and Marc Peipoch, principal investigator of the Ecosystem Ecology Group, have launched a new experiment using a set of flumes in the Stream House to observe possible patterns.
The experiment builds on earlier investigations led by Peipoch and Jinjun Kan and will help to reveal the burden that heavy storms and flooding, worsened by climate change, place on the health of stream ecosystems.
Mendoza-Lera, who grew up in Spain, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and Master of Science in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and management from the University of Basque Country, Spain. She earned her Ph.D. from Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany, where she is a postdoctoral researcher.