The Tibor T. Polgar 2022 Fellowship Presentation of Findings

On Thursday, August 18, 2022, The Hudson River Foundation and the National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted the Tibor T. Polgar 2022 Fellowship Presentation of Findings. Since 1984, The Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship program has provided support for a summer of research to students who wish to study selected aspects of the physical, chemical, biological, and public policy realms of the Hudson River Estuary.

As a Polgar Fellow, Environmental Studies major Gabrielle Robb ’22 presented her research titled “Investigating the Distribution and Drivers of Invasive Trapa natans in the Hudson River Estuary with a Multi-Scaled Approach.” Below is a summary of her research.

This study examines the spatio-temporal dynamics of invasive plant Trapa natans in the Hudson River Estuary with a multi-scaled approach, under the context of a warming climate and changing precipitation patterns. Gabrielle Robb, mentored by Dr. Wei Fang, first analyzed the long-term dynamics of Trapa distribution using historical aerial photographs during 1995-2018. Based on that data, they further measured the primary production, fecundity, seed banks in the sediment, and water quality associated with Trapa in three different microhabitats each of three field sites this summer. They found that Trapa has invaded some areas previously containing native submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), had much lower seed banks in newly invaded sites, and some dense patches of Trapa had extreme levels of hypoxia. This research provides evidence that would lead to better management practice on controlling Trapa and restoring native submerged aquatic vegetation. This might be the first time that a Pace undergraduate student has received the Tibor T. Polar Fellowship, provided by the Hudson River Foundation, since 1985.

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