Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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Summer Research: Hunter Donovan gets her feet wet studying how stream temperature is impacted by drought conditions

Rising junior Hunter Donovan (Environmental Science, WET track ’18) spent the beginning of summer 2016 on campus taking classes as well as participating in two research projects. For the first project she worked with fellow student Claire Parchem, and professors Lisa Kealhofer (Anthropology, ESS), Lee Panich (Anthropology) and Iris Stewart-Frey (ESS), using GIS and Sanborn insurance maps to explore historic patterns of development surrounding Santa Clara University. Hunter and Claire digitized information from the historic maps and mapped several metrics indicating building function for four time periods. For the second research project, she helped Claire Parchem and Iris Stewart-Frey to investigate the effects of the recent drought on local streams. The stream research involved (re-)placing temperature sensors in streams at sites with varying conditions, such as shade and depth. The sensors record hourly stream temperature variations at small scales and will aid in connecting climatic variability to the health of aquatic ecosystems.  After a few weeks of research, Hunter spent time in Spain and Ireland hiking in the Wicklow Mountains National Park and exploring the ancient ruins which still remain there. Now that Hunter is back at SCU she’s picked up her research where she left off and can’t wait to see what this new school year will bring.

Image: Hunter monitoring streams in Santa Clara County