With an interdisciplinary team that spans over ten University of Georgia Schools and colleges, IRIS projects are as diverse as the people who conduct them. Examples of our current projects are below:
University of Georgia IRIS researcher Dr. Jeb Byers, Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Ecology in the Odum School of Ecology, hopes to harness the ecological genius of species that engineer their ecosystems by studying how marine organisms change their habitats.
Using climate data provided by AT&T via the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems examined how flooding in Athens, Georgia, impacts communities differently. The study found that flooding impacts low-income and minority communities to a much more severe extent than other areas of the town–Black, Hispanic and low-income communities faced a flood risk anywhere from 38% to 185% higher than the average risk.
Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems researcher Dr. Matthew V. Bilskie, assistant professor in the College of Engineering, is working to understand how natural- and nature-based infrastructure can mitigate flooding and reduce wave energy in coastal communities.
Dr. Rod Lammers is working alongside Wright Water Engineers, an engineering firm in Denver, and other UGA researchers to create methods for quantifying benefits that stream restoration activities may provide to regions seeking to improve water quality. These methods are applicable to stream restoration projects everywhere, but are receiving the most attention in parts of the country with significant water quality challenges.
IRIS and partners are streamlining the consultation process involving imperiled aquatic species potentially affected by GDOT construction projects that affect freshwater ecosystems. A streamlined consultation process will ensure that species receive protections that are most important to their life stage and sensitivities.