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Medora Hackler - Ecological Modeling Lab

Sweet Briar College, VA

Analyzing geographic factors that influence stream temperature in Maryland

Using both GIS tools and statistics I analyzed the relationship between mean July stream temperature and several geographic factors; including watershed area, mean watershed elevation, mean watershed slope, percent of developed land, and the percent of forested stream buffer (30 m).  These factors were analyzed across the state of Maryland (within the Chesapeake Bay watershed) and within each physiographic province; the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Great Valley, Appalachian Mountains, and the Appalachian Plateau.  The provinces affected the temperature across the state since they have different geological and hydrological properties.  Overall, province and elevation were the most influential factors affecting temperature across Maryland.  Within individual provinces there is no one specific factor which affects temperature.  For example, in the Appalachian Mountains elevation was important, while in the Appalachian Plateau watershed area was most important.
I am currently looking for a job in environmental science, hopefully with conservation biology.  I would like to continue working with GIS analysis and mapping and use this to help protect endangered species.  I am also interested in attending graduate school, once I get a better idea on exactly what I want to study.

Funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee