M.S. Environmental Science Brigham Young University - Apr. 2011 Thesis Title: Evaluation of Environmental Implications of Polymer Coated Urea Using Standard Methods and Photoacoustic Infrared Spectroscopy
B.S. Environmental Science Brigham Young University - Dec. 2009
According to the USGS, sea levels are rising faster in the Mid-Atlantic region than anywhere else in the world. Within this region, Delaware offers a unique opportunity to understand the implications of sea level rise on hundreds of contaminated sites that fall within coastal areas predicted to be impacted by sea level rise. The vast majority of contaminated areas are clustered near communities of dense population; approximately 40% of the global population lives within 100 km of a coastline. For these reasons, an understanding of the fate of trace metals in soil systems susceptible to salt water intrusion is a significant issue in environmental science and health.
Although recent studies have raised the alarm, very little research has been done to investigate this threat. My research interests seek to fill this gap of knowledge. Specifically, I hypothesize two primary processes that could lead to release and migration of sediment-bound contaminants in response to sea level rise: salinization and rising water tables. To investigate this, two soils heavily contaminated with arsenic (As) and chromium (Cr) from waterfront sites have been selected. These sites are representative of former industrial sites in the Mid-Atlantic region. Arsenic and chromium are two common soil contaminants that will be examined because of their redox sensitivity and varying toxicity levels dependent upon redox state.
Salinity of soil and groundwater is likely to increase leading to ion-exchange and sorption/desorption processes that alter contaminant speciation. Changes in pH may release contaminants from the sediment and increase their mobility by reducing retardation along flowpaths. Second, a rise in sea level will result in elevated water tables on land and more widespread occurrence of freshwater surface flooding. Beneath the water table, redox gradients often exist as conditions change from oxic in unsaturated soils to anoxic in groundwater saturated soils. Movement of this interface may mobilize chemicals by introducing reducing conditions to previously oxic soil zones.
In redox sensitive elements, such as As and Cr, toxicity depends upon oxidation states and association with sorbed and mineral phases. Determining these associations in heterogeneous sediments at the solid-phase molecular scale can only be achieved with micro-X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (μ-XAS) and μ-XRD. By utilizing these synchrotron-based methods in addition to aqueous phase chemical methods, I seek to determine how a changing climate will impact existing contaminants in soils of areas susceptible to sea level rise.
LeMonte, Joshua J., B.G. Hopkins, T. Story, V.D. Jolley. In preparation. Assessing Atmospheric Losses of Nitrogen with Photoacoustic Infrared Spectroscopy: Urea vs. Polymer Coated Urea.
LeMonte, Joshua J., B.G. Hopkins, V.D. Jolley, and R.E. Terry. In preparation. Polymer Coated Urea in Turfgrass Maintains Vigor and Mitigates Nitrogen's Environmental Impacts.
Hill, M., B.G. Hopkins, J.J. LeMonte, T.J. Hopkins, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb. 2010. Phosphorus Flux in Soil Increased with Organic Acid Complexation. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Long Beach, CA. Poster Session.
Hopkins, B.G., J.J. LeMonte, J.S. Summerhays, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb. 2010. Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Kentucky Bluegrass. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Long Beach, CA. Oral Presentation.
Hopkins, Bryan G., LeMonte, Joshua J. 2010. Growth Spurts: Impacting Hormones in Sugarbeets. Sugar Producer. June/July, p 22-25.
LeMonte, J.J., B.G. Hopkins, J.S. Summerhays, V.D. Jolley, R.E. Terry. 2010. Nitrous Oxide and Ammonia Emissions from Turfgrass: Urea vs. Polymer Coated Urea. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Long Beach, CA. Oral Presentation.
Ransom, C.R., B.G. Hopkins, J.J. LeMonte, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb, L. Babbel. 2010. Improving Phosphorus Use Efficiency with Oganic Acid Complexation: Corn. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Long Beach, CA. Poster Session.
Summerhays, J.S., J.J. LeMonte, B.G. Hopkins, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb. 2010. Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Potato Yield with Polymer Coated Urea. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Long Beach, CA. Poster Session.
LeMonte, J.J., T.W. Taysom, B.G. Hopkins, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb. 2009. Residual Soil Nitrate and Potato Yield with Polymer Coated Urea. WNMC. Salt Lake City, UT. Student Competition.
LeMonte, J.J., B.G. Hopkins, R.E. Terry, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb, J.R. Buck. 2009. Nitrous Oxide and Ammonia Emission Reductions with Polymer Coated Urea. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Pittsburgh, PA. Poster Session.
LeMonte, J.J., T.W. Taysom, B.G. Hopkins, V.D. Jolley, B.L. Webb. 2008. Residual Soil Nitrate and Potato Yield with Polymer Coated Urea. ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Houston, TX. Poster Session.
Scholarships and Awards
Recipient, U.S. Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Fellowship, 2011 - Present
Third Place, Western Nutrient Management Conference Student Poster Competition, 2011
CSSA Gerald O. Mott Meritorious Graduate Student Award in Crop Sciences, 2010
Third Place, Frank L. Haynes Graduate Student Research Award Competition, 2010
Fourth Place, BYU Plant and Wildlife Sciences Graduate Student Oral Presentation Competition, 2010
Agronomy & Horticulture Scholarship Recipient, 2010
Albert F. & Louie J. Bahr Scholarship Recipient, 2010
Raymond & Maurine Farnsworth Scholarship Recipient, 2010
Third Place, Western Nutrient Management Conference Student Poster Competition, 2009
BYU Office of Research and Creative Activities Grant Recipient, 2009
President, Environmental Science Club, Brigham Young University, 2008–2009
Federal SMART Grant Recipient, 2008–2009