Sinead Crotty is one of the many interdisciplinary students affiliated with the UFTI, currently pursuing a doctoral degree in environmental engineering. Her project involves looking at the spatial patterning of bivalves in salt marshes.
Bivalve communities have a critical role in maintaining the stability and vertical accretion of coastal wetlands. This is especially relevant in the wake of future projected impacts, such as sea level rise. She says that understanding and promoting ecosystem stability is critically important for maintaining boat and ship navigation through coastal waterways, as well as the resilience of transportation infrastructure (roads and bridges) that transverse wetlands. In studying how bivalves accrete (grow and accumulate) and stabilize sediments, Crotty is building a scientific understanding for how bivalves may potentially be used to reduce maintenance dredging of coastal waterways.
Crotty was one of the students to receive the Iva and Norman Tuckett Fellowship from the UFTI. She expects to in 2020.