Sarah Power

Mentor: Dr. Matt Cohen
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
"Last summer in 2014, I was an Environmental Sustainability REU (research experience for undergraduates) student at the University of Colorado Boulder. This experience had me eager to continue more research at UF. I find the idea of discovering something that was previously unknown to be extremely thrilling."


Biological Engineering



Research Interests

  • Hydrology
  • Renewable Energy
  • Atmospheric Sciences

Academic Awards

  • All-Florida First Academic Team - 2013
  • U.S. Sugar Agricultural & Biological Engineering Scholarship - 2015
  • Guy C. Fulton Engineering Scholarship - 2015
  • Share CALS Scholarship - 2015
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • American Water Resources Association


  • Math Tutoring
  • Alachua County Environmental Protection Dept.
  • Alachua County Animal Services

Hobbies and Interests

  • Backpacking
  • Traveling
  • Rock Climbing
  • Roller Blading

Research Description

Nutrient (N, P, Fe) Enrichment Effects on Stream Metabolism at Silver River
To better understand the impact of enrichment on stream metabolism (i.e. gross primary production and ecosystem respiration; GPP and ER) and the response of nutrient assimilation (i.e. uptake) to varying nutrient supply, we have designed a factorial nutrient addition experiment at Silver River. This experiment makes use of the benthos box, a Plexiglas chamber that inserts into stream sediments, isolates a 0.6m x 0.6m area of the stream benthos, and emerges above the water surface to allow air-water-sediment interactions to occur. This chamber allows characterization of the isolated stream benthos as nutrient supply is blocked and thus depleted over time. These chambers are deployed adjacent to each other for one week at a unique location where locations span longitudinally along the river. The clustered nutrient bioassay includes one control chamber paired with three treatment chambers which vary in nitrate, phosphate, and iron additions. Within each box, a dissolved oxygen (DO) probe and a light logger capture DO and light intensity dynamics at 15-minute intervals. From these data, stream metabolism (GPP, ER) and light use efficiency (GPP:PAR) measurements will be estimated in order to determine how they are influenced by added nutrients. At each location, ancillary factors (e.g. canopy cover, algal cover, velocity, porewater chemistry, etc.) are measured and will be tested as other potential explanatory factors of metabolic variation. Through this experimental design, we will determine: 1. The effect of nutrient enrichment on stream metabolism. 2. How primary production and nutrient assimilation change under nutrient supply that varies from above saturation to below ambient.