Sydney Williams, an environmental engineering sciences doctoral student, was accepted to the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship Program and received funding by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management to research the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve’s (SINERR) water quality changes over the years and provide recommendations.
SINERR knows that it has a need to assess and evaluate the water quality. Williams hopes this research will help coastal communities better understand how they can improve water quality issues through nature-based solutions.
“There is major, and largely, untapped potential for us to work with our filter-feeding shellfish populations like mussels, oysters and clams to clean our waters in an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable way. This approach, serving as an alternative to those of traditional water treatment, is increasingly essential as more people live and develop on the coast,” she said.
Williams is a graduate student in the Angelini Lab, led by Christine Angelini, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental engineering sciences in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment within the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Williams’s research focuses on the ribbed mussel population’s relationship with local water quality and phytoplankton communities.