Jesse Blanton — Ecological Engineering
Jesse is researching the ability of aquatic, algae-based microecosystems to establish stable, optimal growth patterns when allowed to toggle their light source on and off. He is using water from the Davis Arboretum pond on campus, split into 10 microcosms, half of which will be placed in a 12-hour diurnal cycle as a control group; the other half will have their light sources turned on and off as the pH reaches preset high and low points. When discussing potential research projects, Jesse had limited knowledge about algae, but he has come to recognize the value and power of algae in water treatment, food and biofuel production and as a carbon sink and oxygen producer. Jesse’s research is part of a larger project exploring the capacity of algae for environmental remediation. He will present his findings at Research Week in the spring and submit them to several journals for publication.
Project Title: Self-optimization of Mixed Algal Communities Via Automated Feedback Control of Light Input
Mentor: Dr. David Blersch, Department of Biosystems Engineering