Research

At the Environmental Change Initiative, researchers from science, engineering, social science and other disciplines work with policymakers, corporations, resource managers and the nonprofit community to pursue environmental change research that is translational. Our goal is to provide solutions that minimize the trade-offs between human welfare and environmental health where trade-offs are unavoidable, and to discover win-win solutions where they are possible. Below are examples of ND-ECI research: 

Featured Project

Image for EAGER: The implications of interacting land use legacies and drought cycles for lake district carbon cycling project

EAGER: The implications of interacting land use legacies and drought cycles for lake district carbon cycling

Constructing regional models to better predict how lakes will affect our future climate through the processes of carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Land Use

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  • Climate Adaptation
  • Environmental Genomics
  • Hydrology
  • Invasive Species
  • Land Use
  • ND-GAIN
  • ND-LEEF

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Projects

Forecasting spread and bioeconomic impacts of aquatic invasive species

Increasing forecast capabilities for the ecological & economic impact of species invasions on the Great Lakes

Funded By:
NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research
Theme:
Active, Invasive Species

Watershed-scale assessment of innovative drainage practices

Preventing nutrient loss from Indiana farms by pairing cover crops and the two-stage ditch at a watershed-scale

Funded By:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Land Use

Predicting risk of species introductions via global shipping network

Analyzing global shipping network for risk of invasion to identify where risks may increase as a result of on-going changes in the shipping network

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Environmental Genomics, Invasive Species

PalEON: Reconstructing the past to predict future forest dynamics

Developing tools and datasets to facilitate data-model fusion for long-term historical and paleoecological data

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation

Collaboratory: A virtual community towards better adaptation to climate change

Leading a climate adaptation virtual community linking people and shared resources to enable informed decision-making

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, ND-GAIN

Advancing Molecular tools for monitoring aquatic biodiversity

Producing novel and practical tools to estimate the biodiversity of aquatic systems, using environmental DNA

Funded By:
Department of Defense
Theme:
Active, Environmental Genomics, Invasive Species

Identifying key ecological and evolutionary process that generates microbial biodiversity

Investigating the implications of dormancy for some microbial communities on ecosystem function

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Environmental Genomics

Movement of genetically engineered organisms in the environment

Tracking the movement of genetically engineered organisms and their byproducts in the environment with new technology

Funded By:
USDA
Theme:
Active, Environmental Genomics, Land Use

ND-GAIN Urban Adapation Assessment: Development of measures for urban adaptation

Generating a granular, context-specific assessments in order to direct regional adaptation investments and actions

Funded By:
Kresge Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, ND-GAIN

Implementing Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring

Implementing and evaluating a basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program for better decision making

Funded By:
EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Land Use

Understanding the role of speciation on biodiversity

Determining whether the creation of a new species provides an opportunity for other organisms to take advantage of the new species and speciate in kind

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Environmental Genomics

Needs assessment for conservation and restoration of waterfowl habitat in the Grand Kankakee watershed

Guiding restoration by modeling the hydrology and ecology of the Kankakee River watershed, historically, at present, and under climate change projections

Funded By:
USFWS and USGS
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Hydrology

Projecting how our river and floodplain environment will evolve into the future

Discovering how basic processes interact to control important outcomes in river and floodplain environments

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Hydrology, Land Use

Implications of interacting land use legacies and drought cycles for carbon cycling

Constructing regional models to better predict how lakes will affect our future climate through the processes of carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Land Use

Effects of Fire on Carbon and Energy Balances

Understanding the short and long-term effects of fire on the Arctic tundra

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Land Use

Understanding post-fire disturbance from nutrient monitoring

Monitoring elemental fluxes after an unprecedented fire in the arctic tundra

Funded By:
National Science Foundation
Theme:
Active, Climate Adaptation, Land Use

Microbial dynamics in vernal pools

Understanding the ecological processes that structure the diversity of bacterial communities and maintain their functioning

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Active, ND-LEEF

Partitioning biotic and abiotic processing of phosphorus

Understanding the biotic and abiotic processing of phosphorus in streams is vital for understanding the effectiveness of conservation practices

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Active, Land Use, ND-LEEF

Microplastic transfer through aquatic food webs

Investigating whether microplastics are transferred from filter feeding bivalves to fish which eat them

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Active, Invasive Species, ND-LEEF

Effects of vegetation on snow distribution

Using low cost open source temperature sensors to investigate the effects of vegetation type on snow depth and redistribution

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Active, Land Use, ND-LEEF

Dispersal and transport of eDNA

Delimiting the extent of invasions or the distribution of threatened and endangered species in flowing waters

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Active, Invasive Species, ND-LEEF

Influence of heterotrophic microbial biofilms on stream ecosystems

Validating a novel method to quantify the influence of heterotrophic microbial biofilms on stream ecosystem function

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Land Use, ND-LEEF

eDNA transport in streams

Modeling the spread of environmental DNA passing through heterogeneous environments

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Environmental Genomics, ND-LEEF

Effect of substrate on nutrient retention in streams

Quantifying the influence of substrate heterogeneity on biofilm-mediated nutrient retention and anomalous transport patterns using experimental watersheds

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Hydrology, Land Use, ND-LEEF

The roles of pH and cation concentration in apparent phosphate inhibition of stream

Better understand the the effect of changing pH on aquatic ecosystems

Funded By:
Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
Theme:
Climate Adaptation, Land Use, ND-LEEF