NASA Fellowship awarded to CEE Professor and graduate student


Photo of woman wearing a hat on boat
Photo by Michah Swann

CEE Professor Alexander Forrest and graduate student Samantha Sharp have received a NASA Fellowship, which will support Samantha’s Ph.D. work. Their fellowship application was one of 22 selected from 279 proposals.

Samantha’s research aims to better understand cyanobacteria blooms in freshwater lakes. Cyanobacteria blooms are an emerging water quality concern as these harmful algal blooms impact ecosystem health, have taste and odor implications for drinking water, and are a public health concern due to the toxins they may produce. This research proposes to quantify the spatial and temporal variability in freshwater lakes using a combination of autonomous underwater and aerial robotics. This applied research study will also contribute to the validation of satellite-based remote sensing tools for application to lakes and reservoirs in California. The results of this work will support decision-makers with the management of our water resources, which will allow for improvement in ecological health and water quality.


Results of pilot study at Clear Lake, CA from August 16, 2019. Map of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) chlorophyll-a measurements (small circles) and grab sample chlorophyll-a observations (large circles) with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) derived chlorophyll-a as background image. Sentinel-3a satellite pixels shown as black outlines.

NASA Press Release: