The Wetland Ambassador Program is currently inactive.
The SWS Wetland Ambassadors Program is an international student research program in which graduate students participate in a visiting research fellowship at an institution outside their home country that features rigorous wetland research in the student’s area of interest.
2019 Wetland Ambassador
Priyanka Sarkar is currently working on her Ph.D. as a UGC-BSR Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar (AUS), India. She completed her Master’s degree with a specialization in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment from the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, AUS. Previously, Priyanka studied the potential for concurrent rice-fish culture in the wetlands of Assam, Northeast India by analyzing the important physico-chemical water parameters; besides, qualitative and quantitative estimation of phyto- & zooplankton communities. Now, she is studying the ecosystem services and economic valuation of Chatla floodplain wetland of Assam, northeast India with an aim to enlighten the stakeholders and influence the policymakers to adopt scientific and sustainable management strategies for Chatla, and similar wetlands in India.
Priyanka's specific research interests include: carbon sequestration in wetland soil and vegetation, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in wetlands, assessing regulating ecosystem service (water purification potential of wetlands) and provisioning ecosystem services (wetland goods) of wetlands, economic valuation of wetland ecosystem services, and management/restoration of wetlands. Moreover, she is also interested in understanding how various ecological aspects of floodplain wetlands in the tropics are related to socio-economic dimensions, livelihood sustenance, and human well-being.
The title of her Wetland Ambassador Fellowship project is “Can biochar increase carbon sequestration in wetland restoration projects?” She will be carrying out her fellowship at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, USA, under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Watson.
Indian newspapers featuring Priyanka's Wetland Ambassador Research Fellowship include:
- https://www.sentinelassam.com/news/priyanka-sarkar-of-bongaigaon-of-assam-selected-2019-wetland-ambassador/ (The Sentinelassam)
- https://nenow.in/north-east-news/bongaigaon-girl-priyanka-sarkar-selected-as-wetland-ambassador.html (Northeast Now)
- http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=jun0219/state055 (The Assam Tribune)
Elizabeth Watson, Ph.D.
Dr. Elizabeth Watson received her Ph.D. in physical geography from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed post-doctoral research positions at the University of California, Davis (in hydrology), and at a research institute in Baja California (studying remote sensing). Her research - and that of her students - focuses on impacts of global change factors, such as sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and nutrient pollution, on landscape change in coastal areas. Dr. Watson works closely with managers to promote the informed conservation and restoration of coastal habitats, and she is best known for drawing attention to the rapid rates of coastal wetland drowning occurring in New York and southern New England.
2018 Wetland Ambassadors
Our 2018 Wetland Ambassadors are Tatiana Lobato de Magalhães from the Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico, and Arohi Dixit from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. Tatiana will be carrying out her fellowship at Utah State University, Utah, USA, and Arohi will be at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Tatiana Lobato de Magalhães
Tatiana Lobato de Magalhães is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Biological Sciences at the Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico. She completed her Master’s degree in the field of Plant Sciences in 2013 at Santa Catarina State University, Brazil.
Her research interests are broad, but they focus on biodiversity, ecology, genetics and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. She has been working on large-scale spatial patterns of aquatic plants, combining community and population approaches. She has conducted her graduate research mainly on central Mexico highland sites, where temporary wetlands are part of the landscape and are geographically isolated. The title of her Wetland Ambassador Fellowship project is “Climate change impacts on native seeds: implications for Great Salt Lake wetland restoration.” She will be carrying out her Wetland Ambassador Fellowship at Utah State University, in Utah, USA, under the mentorship of Dr. Karin Kettenring.
Karin Kettenring, Ph.D.
Dr. Kettenring has a B.A. in biology from Oberlin College. She received her Ph.D. in applied plant sciences from the University of Minnesota, where she worked with Dr. Susan Galatowitsch. Her Ph.D. research focused on restoration of sedges in prairie pothole wetlands. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Dennis Whigham at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, where she studied the invasion of Phragmites australis in Chesapeake Bay tidal wetlands. She has been a faculty member at USU since 2008.
Dr. Kettenring’s current research efforts focus on (1) the ecology, genetics, and management of wetland invaders (mostly Phragmites australis), (2) seed ecology of native wetlands plants, with implications for wetland revegetation, and (3) restoration genetics for sustainable, functioning wetland restorations.
Arohi Dixit is currently working on her Ph.D. at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. She has a Master of Science degree and a Master of Philosophy degree in Environmental Sciences. Previously, she worked on heavy metal characterization in urban soils of Gurgaon City, Haryana, India, where she explored various geochemical changes in an urban landscape with changing land use. Currently, she is working on several wetlands of Gurgaon – one of the highly developed cities of India – for water and sediment quality, along with nutrient dynamics.
Ms. Dixit's specific research interests include: water quality index and its seasonal variation in urban wetlands; carbon and methane fluxes; behavior of different forms of phosphorus and nitrogen in sediment cores and water; stable isotopic systematics; heavy metal characterization in various components of wetlands and their associated potential ecological risk; use of different isotopic signatures in tracing pollution; and wetland restoration/management strategies. She will be carrying out her Wetland Ambassador Fellowship at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, under the mentorship of Dr. Tariq Munir.
Tariq Munir, Ph.D.
Dr. Munir completed his Ph.D. in wetland environment at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This research evaluated and modeled the impacts of industrial disturbance or climate change on wetland environment and greenhouse gas fluxes at an Alberta peatland. Since then, Dr. Munir has gained wetland protection and regulatory experience as a wetland engineer with Oil Sands Development and Research at Imperial Oil Resources. At Imperial, he’s completed two major projects: 1) Remote monitoring of well pads reclaimed/restored to peatland trajectories in Cold Lake, AB; 2) Treatment function modeling of Kearl water treatment wetland receiving impacted water from Northern Overburden Disposal Area. Dr. Munir is interested in continuing his research in wetland greenhouse gas exchange in relation to the impacts of climate change and oil sands development in the oil sands development region of Alberta, Canada.
2017 Wetland Ambassador
Our Wetland Ambassador, Amr Keshta, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Marine Estuarine Environmental Science (MEES) program at University of Maryland, USA. He completed his Master’s degree in the field of Environmental Science at Tanta University in Egypt in 2011. He will be carrying out his Wetland Ambassador fellowship at the University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany under the mentorship of Dr. Kai Jensen.
Amr Keshta is passionate about studying carbon cycling in wetlands, wetland biogeochemistry, sediment dynamics, soil carbon stocks, wetland hydrodynamics, climate change, and wetland restoration. His graduate research involves the application of remote sensing tools to aid in the prediction of the impact of sea level rise on coastal wetlands. He also studies greenhouse gas emissions and their global impact on coastal wetlands and wildlife habitats. The title of his Wetland Ambassador fellowship project is “Sediment dynamics and hydrology in natural and restored tidal freshwater wetlands across continents.”