- Computer Science - Jul 26 Password Perceptions Don’t Always Match Reality
- History - Jul 26 Websites with history can be just as conversational as chatting with a person
- Computer Science - Jul 21 Imaging software predicts how you look with different hair styles, colors, appearances
- Medicine - Jul 21 Hearing what the community has to say about e-health
- Physics - Jul 20 New Yale- developed device lengthens the life of quantum information
- Life Sciences - Jul 19 UW professor is digitizing every fish species in the world
- Mathematics - Jul 18 Computational Design Tool Transforms Flat Materials Into 3-D Shapes
- Physics - Jul 18 A Playful Approach to Quantum Computing
- Life Sciences - Jul 13 Exploring networks efficiently
- Life Sciences - Jul 11 Giving animals a voice - computer software that could tell us what they are thinking
- Computer Science - Jul 11 How to stay anonymous online
- Computer Science - Jul 11 Ethical Questions Must Be Asked About Use of Police Robot
- Computer Science - Jul 8 Solar Superstorms? invited to show at SIGGRAPH 2016
- Medicine - Jul 8 Phone calls can forecast dengue fever outbreaks
- Computer Science - Jul 8 Democratizing databases
- Computer Science - Jul 5 Major energy savings when computers learn to share »
Research project develops collaborative tool for water quality data
Scientists with federal and state agencies, academic researchers, environmental consultants, and watershed group volunteers have collected water-quality data for years as part of efforts to monitor the health of Pennsylvania’s waterways. However, while there is virtually a deluge of water-quality data, much of it has never been incorporated into a sustainable database accessible to both researchers and the public.
That has just changed. A new database, using a platform supported by the National Science Foundation that channels available water quality data into a searchable format, was demonstrated at the Shale Network 2012 Workshop at Penn State’s University Park campus in April.
The workshop was part of the Shale Network, a multi-institutional initiative funded by NSF to track potential impacts of gas shale activity, including that of the Marcellus.
"Our goal is to create a database of water quality and quantity that will be helpful in decision making because the more data that are available, the better the decisions that can be made," said Susan Brantley, principal investigator for the Shale Network and director of the Penn State Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. "The power of data is in sharing."
Interest in sharing water quality data was common among the more than 40 workshop participants, who represented a mix of academic institutions, nonprofits, watershed groups, the environmental industry, and county, state and federal agencies.
The group also explored the new HydroDesktop Web service to examine water quality in areas where shale gas is being actively developed. HydroDesktop is software that acts like a web browser to search for data about water quality and quantity. At the workshop, participants were taught how to use HydroDesktop to find online data from the ShaleNetwork database as well as other public water quality databases.
"With , we will be able to see patterns and anomalies in stream health," said Ann Donovan with the Centre County Conservation District, who works with monitoring teams for the Beech Creek Watershed.
Besides making hard-to-find data publicly available, the database also holds the promise of making data collection more consistent. Establishing protocols will ensure data quality, as will putting data online for scrutiny, Brantley said.
"We want to act as an ‘honest broker’ by collating and synthesizing the data collection that is occurring throughout the Marcellus Shale region," Brantley added.
Pennsylvania has a long history of water monitoring with 580 organizations focused on watersheds, according to a 2005 survey by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. More than half of those are community-based or volunteer organizations doing stream monitoring.
But the number of members and organizations are growing -- sparked largely by concerns that the state’s burgeoning natural gas industry may be threatening high quality and exceptional value streams.
"We have people who are engaged in stream monitoring that I had never dreamed would get engaged -- church groups, farmers," said Julie Vastine, director of the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring, Dickinson College, which has been providing scientific and technical training to watershed associations for 25 years to carry out stream assessments.
"They’re getting their waders on because they want to understand what is happening in their backyard, and they are turning to science to help them," Vastine added.
The ShaleNetwork is a collaboration of researchers at Dickinson College, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydologic Science, Inc., that works to compile scientifically valid data and make it available for research and public access.
In addition to developing the searchable database, the project also is examining the interplay between scientists and community watershed groups -- that is, community members without formal scientific training -- in data collection and knowledge generation.
Last job offers
- Computer Science/Telecom - 20.7
Forschungsdozentin / Forschungsdozent mit Schwerpunkt IT Security
- Environment - 15.7
Assistant Professor of Human Geography (tenure track)
- Computer Science/Telecom - 14.7
Wissensch. Assistent/in Programmierung
- Computer Science/Telecom - 5.7
Doktoranden / Doktorandin im Fachbereich Data Intelligence (70%)
- Pedagogy/Education Science - 26.7
Full Professor of Higher Education in a Digital Environment
- Life Sciences - 22.7
Asst./Assoc. Professor of Bioinformatics for Human Diseases
- Computer Science/Telecom - 19.7
§ 98 Professur
- Computer Science/Telecom - 27.8
Professur für Praktische Informatik, mit Schwerpunkt Computational Life Science
- Medicine/Pharmacology - 26.7
Professorship for Hygiene with specializen in Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention
- Computer Science/Telecom - 21.7
The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Department of Computer Science and Applied...
- Microtechnics - 26.7
Lecturer / Associate Professor
- Environment - 18.7
Professor / Associate Professor / Lecturer of Human Responses to Vibration
- Life Sciences - 19.7
Assistant / Associate Professor in Fish Conservation Biology
- Life Sciences - 19.7
Assistant / Associate Professor in the Evolution and Ecology of Symbioses