1 UNF Drive
Building 1, Room 2200
Jacksonville, FL 32224
Phone: (904) 620-5804
Fax: (904) 620-2668
The Environmental Center at the University of North Florida seeks to stimulate the creation of multidisciplinary research projects related to the environment. To achieve this goal, the Environmental Center is leveraging its River Branch endowment to provide funding to faculty in the form of Seed Grants. The grants offered to faculty are intended to “seed” environmentally related research that subsequently results in the preparation and submission of a proposal to an external funding agency that is submitted through the Environmental Center. In addition, the Environmental Center especially hopes to inspire effective collaboration between faculty members and students in diverse disciplines. The Seed Grants are competitively awarded to the most meritorious proposals.
Two Seed Grants for up to $6,000 each will be awarded f
or the 2017 cycle.
The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.
2017 Seed Grant Application
Determining Gopher Tortoise Burrow Occupancy Using a Robotic Camera 2010
Voices from the Stream: An Environmental History of the St. Johns River 2009
Dig in! Go Green! Fruit and Vegetable Gardening with Preschoolers 2009
Dr. Kelly Smith, Department of Biology
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR)
Nicole Llinas, Biology Undergraduate Research Assistant
Retention ponds are ubiquitous in the southeast and play a key role in allowing stormwater to re-enter the groundwater supply; however, these ponds are sources of nutrients that can lead to nuisance algae blooms in recipient waterways. We propose using floating mats planted with Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) to achieve two goals: 1) Reduce nutrient levels in retention ponds through uptake by plant roots, and 2) harvest mature and healthy plants for control of sediment erosion and as habitat for coastal organisms. This collaborative effort between the education group at Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR) lead by Kenneth Rainer and the Department of Biology will merge scientific inquiry with environmental education. Outcomes of the project include: assessment of nutrient uptake in retention ponds, analysis of plant health response to floating mats and subsequent deployment in coastal shorelines, and integration of middle school student participation in plant harvesting and deployment as an environmental science activity.
Dr. Quincy Gibson, Department of Biology
Amber Brown, Biology Graduate Research Assistant
Recent necropsy reports have documented a large number of unexplained deaths among bottlenose dolphins in the St. Johns River, Jacksonville. Moreover, a number of these deaths occurred in low salinity areas of the river that are strong deviations from the residential population's known home ranges. These findings indicate that dolphins are traveling farther upstream into the freshwater, suggesting possible exposure to native toxin producing cyanobacterial blooms. In 2015, two dolphin stranding reports noted the presence of dermal "algal mats." Preliminary microscopic identification of these algal mats revealed the presence of both water mold and cyanobacteria. This combination could potentially provide an explanation for these previously unexplained fatalities. This research will focus on unusual strandings and the effects of freshwater cyanobacterial blooms on the health of dolphins in the St. Johns River.
Dr. Chris K. Johnson, Department of Economics and Geography
Dr. Chiradip Chatterjee, Department of Economics and Geography
Dr. Parvez Ahmed, Department of Accounting and Finance
Dr. Russell Triplett, Department of Economics and Geography
The objective of this study is to examine how measures of socioeconomic background, social capital and media exposure influence the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for water quality improvement. The purpose of this study is threefold: First, we will estimate residents’ monetary valuation for the improvement of tap water quality. Second, we will explain the influence of social capital and other socioeconomic factors on WTP. Finally, since Jacksonville’s tap water quality has attracted both positive and negative media attention, we will investigate to what extent the media attention influenced the monetary valuation for the improvement of tap water quality.
We propose a household phone survey of randomly selected residents in the city of Jacksonville by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at UNF with a target sample size between 500 and 1000 respondents. Students enrolled in Business and Economic Statistics (ECO 3411) will staff the phone bank. This will help to offset costs and offer students practical exposure to data collection procedures and the mechanics of random sampling. Looking ahead, we plan to use this data in support of proposal(s) for external funding for a more detailed in-person survey within the JEA service area and to develop a GIS map of water quality differentials across zip codes.
Dr. Stephen Stagon, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Amy Lane, Department of Chemistry
The U.S. Navy estimates that biofouling increases drag on the hulls of its ships by up to 40%, resulting in an annual cost of over $1 billion. Biofouling occurs through a multi-step process, beginning with the attachment of microorganisms and the formation of a biofilm which larger fouling organisms preferentially attach to. Biofilm formation may be mitigated using two approaches: chemical or mechanical. Chemically, surfaces are coated with a toxic substance that kills the biofilms if they are to attach. This approach is environmentally negative, as the toxins are often non-specific and impact organisms in the entire marine ecosystem. Mechanically, surfaces can be featured in such a way that the biofilm forming microorganisms physically cannot attach or find them non-preferable. While there is literature detailing the interaction of biofilm forming microorganisms on microstructured surfaces there is almost no investigation of the effects of nanostructured surfaces. In this project we aim to investigate the effects of nanofeatured surfaces, being metal nanorods, made of environmentally benign materials on the formation of marine biofilms. This project may result in a novel means of preventing biofilm formation and will serve as preliminary data to attract funding from the Navy or the NSF.
Dr. Curtis Phills
, Department of Psychology
Dr. Paul Fuglestad
, Department of Psychology
Dr. Heather Truelove, Department of Psychology
Climate scientists have a message: anthropogenic climate change and its negative consequences are real (IPCC, 2013). Unfortunately, the presentation of that message has not resulted in a large groundswell of support of pro-environmental initiatives (Gallup, 2014). Part of the reason for this may be that the message on climate change may not resonate with the general public on a motivational level. Regulatory fit theory (Higgins, 2000) proposes that elements of a message can be designed to induce a motivational “fit” such that people perceive the message as more resonant are in turn more likely to follow through with the message’s recommendations. Persuasive messages commonly use either a promotion focus—emphasizing the pursuit of ideals and positive outcomes—or a prevention focus— emphasizing the fulfillment of obligations and the prevention of negative outcomes. When other features of a persuasive appeal (e.g., visual imagery, calls to action) “fit” with the focus of message, persuasion and behavior change are increased. The proposed research will take advantage of the fact that pro- environmental messages tend to be framed in terms of striving for ideals (e.g., Be Green!) or fulfilling obligations (e.g., Don’t Pollute!). Across two laboratory and one field experiment we will investigate the effectiveness of presenting pro-environmental messages in manners designed to induce regulatory fit. We predict that when people view pro-environmental messages that induce regulatory fit they will value the environment more and perform more pro-environmental behaviors. We will also test whether valuing the environment mediates the influence of the messages on behavior.
Dr. Robert L. Thunen, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
This is a pilot study to examine the environmental, archaeological, historical and cartographic data for information on the St. Johns River from the mouth of the river to the end of Mill Cove (our study area). Specifically, I am interested in what the natural and cultural landscape was like in the year 1564—the year the French arrived and built La Caroline Colony. We start with the fundamentals: to examine maps from recent topographic surveys, then move back investigating earlier maps, ending with maps of the first Spanish Period to get a sense of how much the river’s fundamental hydrology has been impact by dredging, erosion, and soil displacement. Next, we examine the possible locations for the Mocama (Timucua) contact villages based on both the archaeological and historical documents. From there, we begin to seek funding for a multidisciplinary research project focused on reconstructing the natural habitats and ecology of the 16th century. Some of this can be based on archaeological remains of flora and fauna from archaeological sites. In other cases, this will require cooperation across natural science disciplines with discussions about what habitats and species were likely here. The long-term goal is to arrive at a best estimate of the historical ecology similar to what was done in New York City for the Welikia Mannahatta Project.
Drs. Butler and Lambert; Diamondback Terrapins: Filling the Distribution Gaps and Developing Gaps and Developing a Nesting Habitat Index for Northeastern Florida
Drs. Largo-Wight, Guardino, Hall, and Mr. Charles Hubbuch; Cultivating Healthy School Environments: An Outdoor Classroom Pilot Study
Dr. Nicholson; Lead Exposure for Children in Poverty: The Importance of Primary Prevention
Drs. Dinsmore, Parkinson, Zoellner, and Rossi; Using Different Types of Text to Change Beliefs About Environmental Science and Perceptions of Scientific Evidence
Dr. Keith Ashley;
Negotiating the Tides: Shellfish Collecting at the Mill Cove Complex (AD 1000-1250)
Dr. Peter Bacopoulous; Spatial-Temporal Distribution of Beached Oil Tar Balls in Northeast Florida
Dr. Christopher Baynard; Determining Surface Disturbance Patterns Related to Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Activities in West Florida
Drs. Amy Lane and Thomas Mullen; Natural Products as Environmentally Friendly Inhibitors of Aquatic Biofilms
Dr. Heather Truelove; Spillover of Pro-Environmental Behavior
Drs. Katrina Hall, Lunetta Williams & Wanda Hedrick; Earth Matters Book Club: 3rd Graders and UNF Students
Drs. Quincy Gibson & Courtney Hackney; Abundance and Movement Patterns of Bottlenose Dolphins within the Estuaries of Northeast Florida
Dr. Aiyin Jiang; Analysis of Thermal Features in Solar Shingle Roof
Dr. Cliff Ross; Impacts of Salt Water Intrusion on the Physiology and Biochemistry of Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Dr. Bart Welling; Osprey Eco-Films: An Environmental Documentary Series for UNF
Drs. Joe Butler and Alan Harris,
Determining Gopher Tortoise Burrow Occupancy Using a Robotic Camera
Dr. Julie Richmond, Dolphin Photo Identification in the Jacksonville Area
Dr. Tony Rossi, Proposal to Determine the Extent and Severity of Laurel Wilt Disease and the Decline of Redbay Trees on the UNF Campus
Dr. Charles Closmann,
Voices from the Stream:
Environmental History of the St. Johns River
Drs. Cheryl Fountain, Janice Hunter and Rebecca England, Dig In! Go Green! Fruit and Vegetable Gardening with PreSchoolers
Dr. Chris Johnson, Poverty and Homelessness: Improving Disadvantaged Communities through Sustainable, Urban Gardening
Dr. Erin Largo-Wight, The Refinement and Testing of an Instrument to Measure Health-Related Environmental Quality at Work: TheNature Contact Questionnaire
Dr. Cliff Ross, Effects of Environmental Stressors on Seagrass Susceptibility to Infection and Disease
Dr. Joe Butler,
Habitat Restoration Techniques to Enhance a Gopher Tortoise Population on the Campus of University of North
Dr. James Gelsleichter, Multibiomarker Assessment of Fish Health in the Lower St. Johns River
Dr. Lori Lange, Transformational Encounters with the Natural Environment at UNF: Impacts on Environmental Identity, Affective Connectedness and Well-Being
Drs. Michael Lentz and Dale Casamatta, DNA Sequence Analysis of Aquatic Viruses from Lake Oneida
Dr. Daniel Moon, Biological Survey and Assessment of Lakes and Ponds on UNF Campus
Dr. Joe Butler,
Population Structure and Reproductive Ecology of Gopher Tortoises in the Pumpkin Hill Preserve
Drs. Hudyma, Guima, Krusienski & Harris, Remote Monitoring of Sinkhole Development in Dry Retention Ponds to Mitigate potential Groundwater PollutionDrs. Michael Lentz and Dale Casamatta, Preliminary Characterization of Aquatic Viruses in Northeast Florida
Drs. Wood & Hunter, Ms. Gupton, Young Florida Naturalists, increases environmental background knowledge through conceptmapping of 3- and 4-year olds
Dr. Dale Casamatta,
A Survey of the Planktonic Algal Community from the Sawmill Slough
Dr. Matt Gilg, Determination of the Dispersal Patterns of the Invasive Green MusselDr. Dominik Güss, Cultural Differences in Coping During Hurricane KatrinaDr. John Hatle, Testing Thresholds in Animal Development
Dr. Dan Moon, Development of a Restoration Plan for Betz Tiger Point Preserve
Dr. Tony Rossi, Utilization of Native Plant Communities to Reduce Toxic Runoff and Erosion along the Proposed UNF Eco-Friendly Roadway
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