Meet Graduate Researcher Kayla Neuharth

Introducing Kayla Neuharth, a master's degree student in Hydrologic Sciences. Neuharth is working on a research project with Dr. Mark Hausner in Devil's Hole, which is located in southern Nevada. She is creating a model to predict the effects that climate change may have on the pupfish that live in Devil's Hole.

What brought you to DRI?
I became interested in DRI because of the range of projects that use interdisciplinary fields, each involving environmental work.

What are you studying?
Currently I am enrolled in courses on limnology, fluid mechanics, and vadose zone hydrology. I chose to study limnology to better prepare myself for my research projects. I chose the course on vadose zones because I have a past backround in hydrogeology and wanted an introduction to modeling.

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What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?
I am working with Dr. Mark Hausner on a project at Devils Hole, in Southern Nevada. The project encompasses making a hydrodynamic model of the water column above a shallow shelf in Devils Hole, where a species of fish called the Devil's Hole pupfish live. The model will predict how climate change will affect the pupfish and other ecology within the system, by incorporating the sub-seasonal variability of the water column (changes in temperature and water level from meteorological data).

What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?
My long-term goal is to become familiar with the research process; finding an interesting topic, formulating a question surrounding that topic, performing a study, and ultimately, creating a report to a wider audience on my findings. My short-term goal is to become affiliated with other faculty and graduate students in the DRI community, and to learn about their research projects.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?
I am originally from Colorado and like to spend my free time outdoors. I am a huge fan of hiking fourteeners and since moving out to Reno my interest has shifted towards backpacking trips. When I'm not outside you'll likely find me enjoying a good book with a cup of tea and my cat curled up on my lap.

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