Ecological Engineering Research Associates

Current Researchers

Binbin Huang

BinbinDr. Binbin Huang received his Ph.D. Degree in Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering from Wuhan University, China in 2010.  Prior to that, Dr. Huang received his B.Sc. in Water Conservancy and Hydropower and M.S in Fluid Mechanics from the China Three Gorges University and China University of Mining and Technology. Dr. Huang spent two years at the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research as a post-doc researcher before joining Nanchang Institute of Technology. He is currently conducting his research at the Ecological Engineering Lab, Desert Research Institute, Nevada as a visiting scholar (Sept 2016 – Aug 2017). Dr. Huang has had several funded research projects over the years that has led to nearly 30 peer-reviewed journal articles. He was also awarded the Young Scientist Award in Jiangxi Province in 2015. His research interests include traditional methods of hydrology and water resources, water environment management, effects of hydrological processes on resources, environment and ecosystem. Dr. Huang is a member of the Ecological Association in Jiangxi province.

Sachiko Sueki
Photograph by
Sara E. Jenkins

I am currently working on two projects. One of the projects involves study of Tamarisk (a.k.a. Salt Cedars) and the other one is 'algal biofuel'. As a part of Tamarisk project, I am working on comparison of invasive and native Tamarisk species. The second part of this project involves ecophysiological study of Tamarisk beetles as well as ecological and hydrological impact after defoliation. Beetles were introduced in US a while ago in the hope of controlling Tamarisk. This project also allows me to occasionally enjoy Las Vegas Summer Sun in the Tamarisk fields during field data collection. In the algal biofuel project we are looking to optimize stoichiometric nutrient ratios and environmental conditions for maximum growth and lipid production.


Past Researchers 

Shogo Imada

altI did my Ph.D.  in  Tree Ecophysiology from Tottori University, Japan. Currently, I am a visiting scholar at DRI from the Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University. My current research is concerned with growth characteristics of tamarisks under severe environmental conditions in arid area. I have worked in salt dynamics in tamarisk stands, characteristics of salt secretion from glands in the leaves, and the relationships between the fine-root growth and soil environmental factors. My current research interests are ecophysiological responses of tree species in arid regions, and the role of fine roots in the growth and tolerance of the tree species.

Lixiao Ni

LixiaoNiLixiao received her Ph.D degree from Nanjing University, China in 2004. Her research interests involved wastewater treatment and restoration of the aquatic ecosystems. She is especially interested in the algae control and wastewater treatment with constructed wetland. Specific areas include development of environment friendly algae – inhibition agents, coupling effects of hydrodynamic force and cyanobacteria blooms on Cadmium migration and transformation at the water-sediment interface of Taihu lake, removal of nitrogen and phosphorus by forming struvite (MAP) and resources of struvite, constructed wetland technology and clogging mechanism and control of constructed wetland system.

Mahesh Gautam (currently with the Department of Water Resources, California)

altI have worked in various roles as water engineer, researcher and lecturer in last 18 years in various issues and problems of water engineering and management in both developing and developed countries. I have worked in the development of flood forecasting and management system, environmental monitoring and management system, besides working for the assessment of human interventions and impact of climate change on water resources, and for developing adaption and mitigation measures against climate change.

My current research interests are watershed modeling and development of decision support system tools for various problems of water and ecological engineering at the face of human interventions on the natural system and changing climate. I am currently involved in the projects related to stream restoration, stormwater Best Management Projects, climate change impact on flood frequency, and application of neural networks for the development of pedotransfer functions for soil hydraulic properties.

Diane Momberg

altDiane has worked as an aquatic ecologist – researcher on various projects from spring surveys, taxonomy of benthic macroinvertebrates (BMI), autecology of benthic organisms (BMI and zooplankton), algal biofuel research to algal growth and bio-optical properties of Antarctic pack ice. Her research interests include aquatic ecology and biology, invasive species impacts, periphyton - grazer interactions, biological stoichiometery and food web studies.  Diane’s current research involves Quagga mussel husbandry and understanding mussel (Dressenia buggensis) eco-physiology; assessing feeding selection and particle size preference, clearance rates, and testing for inorganic and bacteria interference during feeding.

Quagga mussels are an invasive species, said to have “hitched” a ride in the ballast waters of commercial ships.  They are originally from the Dnieper River, in the Ukraine and are becoming quite a problem for Lake Mead, Las Vegas Nevada and the Hoover Dam. Quagga mussels proliferate on rocky or silty substrate as well as, boat engines, pumping structures and water ways. They can survive long periods of time in various conditions, and filter water for food, removing phytoplankton; impacting other species in the food web.  Increasing knowledge and understanding of mussel growth and survivability will benefit monitoring programs, managers and the general community.

Yiping Li

altDr. Yiping Li began working at the Desert Research Institute in July 2008 as a visiting postdoctoral fellow. He received his Ph.D. degree from Hohai University, China in 2006. His research involves lake ecosystems and numerical models. His goal is to improve understanding of the quantitative influences of environmental changes on ecohydrologic processes as well as the causes of eutrophication. He is especially interested in the whole process of hydrologic cycle and contaminant transport among land, surface water and groundwater. His other research interests are nutrient cycling, wastewater treatment systems, lake management, and numerical modeling. His present research is focused on the integrated watershed model linking hydrodynamic, water quality, optical and ecological models.

Jaria Mon

altJarai graduated from Washington State University with a Ph.D. in Soil Science. Her research interests are in the area of fate and transport of chemicals in the vadose zone and the potential threats to surface and groundwater quality. Specific areas include sorption and its effects on transport of organic and inorganic chemicals in soils, quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) to estimate environmental behavior of organic chemicals, and redistribution of pollutants from contaminated soils under the influence of environmental conditions—changes in media surface properties, solution chemistry, and water saturation.