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Water Lily species Nymphaea odorata photographed at the
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Water Lily species Nymphaea odorata photographed at the Talladega Wetland Ecosystem in

May 28, 2010
Water Lily species Nymphaea odorata, photographed at the Talladega Wetland Ecosystem in west-central Alabama.

The Talladega Wetland Ecosystem site is one of several field sites used for research by Ph.D. students enrolled in the Freshwater Sciences Interdisciplinary Doctoral program. The program is a collaborative effort between the University of Alabama and the University of New Mexico, and is funded by the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. [One of three related images. See Next Image.]

More about this Image The purpose of the freshwater sciences program is to provide Ph.D. students with the opportunity to prepare for careers that will effectively address the issue of how to maintain high quality fresh water in the 21st century. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary areas of aquatic ecology, environmental geology and hydrology.

Both of the universities that participate in the program have a designated field site where students can take samples and perform field research. The sites are located at similar latitudes but with contrasting humid/wet and semi-arid climates. Students can broaden their perspectives by designing components of their dissertation research that are cross-regional and that allow them to explore similarities and differences in approaches and questions in geographic regions with distinctly different climates.

The students investigate ecological, hydrological and geochemical attributes of streams, rivers and ground waters of the Mobile River and Middle Rio Grande basins. They form links with organizations like the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades National Park, the Nature Conservancy and the Bosque Improvement Group, which are involved in large-scale management and restoration of major southeastern and southwestern freshwater ecosystems. Students and faculty from both universities confer and meet regularly, share research results and compare field research. (Year of image: 1995)