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Daniel Nidzgorski Awarded CURA Dissertation Research Grant for 2013-2014

March 16, 2013
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Daniel Nidzgorski, a Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Graduate Program, has been awarded the 2013 CURA Dissertation Research Grant. The grant provides one year of support to a Ph.D. candidate in good academic standing at the Univer¬sity of Minnesota for the purpose of completing dissertation research on a significant issue or topic related to urban areas in the upper Midwest region.

Nidzgorski’s dissertation research will provide the first comprehensive assessment of how urban trees affect nitrogen and phosphorus movement from land to water, and will contribute to creating more sustainable urban landscapes. Many urban and suburban waterways, especially in the upper Midwest, suffer from excess nitrogen and phosphorus, which contribute to algal blooms. These excess nutrients cause lower water clarity and oxygen levels, bad odor and taste, and loss of desirable species. However, we currently understand very little about how to prevent these nutrients from moving from land into local lakes and streams.

Nidzgorski’s research focuses on elucidating the influence of different urban tree species on nutrient cycling in soils and nutrient flows in groundwater by characterizing tree species in terms of how they affect nutrient levels in storm water and groundwater, which are both important inputs of nutrients to local waterways. This research will fill a major gap in understanding how trees influence the flows of nutrients through urban landscapes at the watershed scale, with consequences for local water pollution. Ultimately, this research can inform urban land managers and homeowners in selecting tree species for planting on public and private lands that reduce nutrient pollution and improve the water quality in local waterways.

An article summarizing Nidzgorski’s disser­tation research will appear in a future issue of the CURA Reporter