Oral Presentations: UC 331
|Friday, April 28th|
Analysis of Montana Snowpack Trends
Ben Uhlenbruck, University of Montana
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
The annual storage of water in the form of snow is crucial to Montana’s ecosystem and economy. Agriculture depends on the steady release of water during drier months, and many species rely on winter snowpack for protection. Studies by P.W. Mote (2003, 2005) have shown a declining snowpack in the Pacific Northwest due to increasing winter temperatures region wide. These studies are no longer up to date, and focus more regionally than Montana alone. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) uses SNOTEL sites to monitor mountain snowpack in the western United States. The data from these sites is available on the NRCS website. I have analyzed these data from the 90 SNOTEL sites in Montana for changes in Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) and temperature, to analyze how climatic changes have effected Montana snowpack.
Using Satellite Altimetry to Measure Lake Volume Changes in the Western U.S.
norland raphael hagen, University of Montana
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Monitoring changes in lake volumes globally in the Western U.S is essential for understanding the hydrologic response to climate change and for predicting the physical and ecological response to vanishing water resources. Unfortunately, the monitoring of lakes in many areas of the world is limited by local resources, so that fluctuations in volumes over time are poorly known. This makes managing water resources difficult. In this study, we test the viability of using space-based LIDAR altimetry data as a tool to measure changes in lake elevation which is then used to calculate changes in volume over time. The study concentrates on the Western U.S., where there are relatively long records of lake levels to test the methodology. By coupling LIDAR elevation measurements from the ICESat satellite with bathymetry curves, lake volumes can be calculated. To test the robustness of ICESat elevation measurements over water, we used two hydrologically distinct test lakes (Lake Tahoe and Great Salt Lake) which have in-situ daily elevation measurements from USGS gauging stations. Once this proof of concept was confirmed and the associated uncertainty determined, we applied this method to Lake Abert, Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake. This study affirms that using ICESat LIDAR altimetry data is a viable option to estimate the volumes unmonitored lakes. As more satellite altimetry missions come online, long term space-based monitoring of lakes will become increasingly feasible, which will help improve our understanding of global water resources in a rapidly changing climate.
Detecting Regional Groundwater Discharge to the Clark Fork River
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
This study applied the use of environmental tracers to constrain the quantity of groundwater discharge along a 22 km reach of the Clark Fork River as it runs through Missoula, MT. The primary environmental tracer used was Radon-222 (222Rn), a radioactive isotope in the uranium decay series that is absorbed by water from subsurface media, and is thus a sensitive indicator of groundwater discharge. Dissolved 222Rn samples were taken at 2 km intervals along a reach extending from confluence of the Clark Fork and the Blackfoot River near Bonner, MT, and extending across the Missoula Valley to the confluence with the Bitterroot River. Groundwater samples were also taken from wells near Rattlesnake Creek, which represent 222Rn baseline concentrations in the Missoula aquifer. The results were compared to data in the literature from previous studies. All samples were analyzed for dissolved radon concentration using a spectral alpha-decay detector. Observed 222Rn concentrations in the stream and groundwater were then used to quantify the groundwater discharge using a stream transport model which includes groundwater discharge. 222Rn concentration was observed to increase to 553 mBq/L just downstream of the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork, drop below detection limits through most of the Missoula Valley, and rise to 995 mBq/L at Kelly Island just before the confluence with the Bitterroot. Estimated discharge values ranged from 10 m3/day/m near the Blackfoot to 40 m3/day/m around the Bitterroot. Groundwater discharge from unconfined aquifers to adjacent streams is an important factor in watershed resiliency to climate change and can vary dramatically along the river due to unseen changes in subsurface properties. Our results provide spatially distributed estimated of the contribution of groundwater to base-flow conditions of the Clark Fork River as it passes through the Missoula Valley.
Raspberry Pi Controlled Greenhouse
Zane A. Zanzig
10:40 AM - 11:00 AM
Being born and raised in Missoula I have always enjoyed the outdoors. From a very young age I was taught how to care for plants. This project will help people be able to grow plants even if they do not have a green thumb.
For my research project I am making a computer automated greenhouse using a raspberry pi and a few different sensors and actuators. The project is to have a raspberry pi monitor and control temperature, humidity, and soil moisture levels. I believe there is a lot of potential for this device. It will help the people that want to have a garden, but still want a week vacation in the middle of summer. This project might even help the idea of growing plants on other planets besides ours. I think this experiment will speed up the research of plant physiology. We could do more experiments on what factors contribute to the alkaloid production of plant. This project is still a work in progress, but I will have a small exhibit to show how my control system will work. This project will be relatively inexpensive. I hope this project will innovate how we produce our crops in the future.
Choreography Conversations: Collaborating at a Distance
Carissa M. Lund
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
As a choreographer, I find my voice through dance. I look to tell stories as clearly as possible so audiences can watch my narrative. This got me thinking, is it possible for two choreographers to create a piece through conversation? Essentially a back-and-forth dialogue that will end in a piece.
For this project my partner and I will be exploring just that. How two choreographers can develop a piece through a back-and-forth collaboration. Focusing on innovating methods of discussion and how that can influence our final work. This conversation element will be featured given the fact that my partner and I will be in different states while creating this work. We will use technology as means to connect at our distance and will develop the work separately until we reunite in April.
A Generation of Katnisses: The New Power of Female Protagonists in Young Adult Dystopian Literature
McKenzie K. Watterson, University of Montana, Missoula
4:20 PM - 4:40 PM
Considering emerging heroines in young adult dystopian fiction, this project first examines them in a literary review. Using feminist ethics of care as a baseline, the review considers their unique worlds, agency, and motivation. Secondly, informed by the research, it attempts to add to their cannon with a new piece of creative writing.
Lexi J. Klawitter, University of Montana, Missoula
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM
As a modern, local version of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, The Missoula Monologues (TMM) consists of a series of community members sharing their stories in monologue performance style. TMM intends to engage the audience’s empathy through personal narrative, creating a grassroots movement for social change. As an annual event, TMM focuses on a different topic each year, depending on the relevant issues of the time and always including as diverse a group of speakers as possible. The theme of the 2017 Missoula Monologues is “Toxic Masculinity.” This aims to analyze the detrimental effects of the disconnect between individuals’ identities and the social stereotypes projected onto them. The variety of the speakers’ perspectives will present the audience with a set of lenses through which to examine the stigmas surrounding archetypal masculinity. An emphasis on male survivors of sexual assault, a prime example of the harmful effects of toxic masculinity, will accompany the raw humanity of the monologues in the form of short excerpts presented by University of Montana students. My presentation of TMM will include the compilation of these selected pieces of researched literature, printed copies of the speakers’ prepared monologues, and my own journaling about the experience.