Geography Prof. La Frenierre receives major NSF grant

Posted on March 12th, 2018 by

La Frenierre and collaborators will study how climate change is affecting glaciers, meltwater, and groundwater in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Shown here is Mt. Chimborazo. (Photo courtesy of Jeff La Frenierre.)

The National Science Foundation Hydrological Sciences program has awarded a three-year grant totaling $192,441 to Gustavus Adolphus College for support of a project entitled Collaborative Research: Determining the eco-hydrogeologic response of tropical glacierized watersheds to climate change: An integrated data-model approach, under the direction of Jeff La Frenierre, Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies.

This award, part of a larger $699,000 project undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Gene-Hua Crystal Ng of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Li Li or Penn State University,  supports research into the implications of rapid glacier retreat for water resources in the Ecuadorian Andes.

Building on work begun by La Frenierre during his PhD research, the team will developing a new computational watershed model that will incorporate chemical and isotopic data for tracing water flow pathways, as well as measurements from innovative low-cost, open-source environmental monitoring technologies.  Results from the model can inform communities reliant on stream discharge from ice and snow-covered mountainous watersheds about present and future water resources vulnerabilities, and can facilitate adaptation strategies as the pace of climate change accelerates. The grant will allow La Frenierre to continue involving Gustavus undergraduate students in field work in Ecuador and lab work at Gustavus.


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