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UA Professor Receives National Science Foundation Awards for Mussel and Water Research

photo of Dr. Carla Atkinson
The research, conservation and education of freshwater mussels has led to a five-year $1.04 million National Science Foundation CAREER award to an ecologist from The University of Alabama.
Dr. Carla Atkinson, an associate professor in UA’s Department of Biological Sciences, recently received the award, which is one of the most prestigious recognitions of top-performing young scientists. Additionally, her water quality research, along with two other UA colleagues, has earned a four-year $1.7 million NSF EPSCoR Track 2 grant to study intermittent streams as part of a national project.
Read more about Dr. Atkinson’s research
photo of Aijun Song and Xiaoyan Hong

UA Professors Awarded NSF Grant For Underwater Robotics Wireless Communications

Two University of Alabama professors have been selected by the National Science Foundation to lead a $1.5 million effort from its CISE Community Research Infrastructure program.

Dr. Aijun Song, assistant professor in UA’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Xiaoyan Hong, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, have been awarded $880,000 by the NSF for their project, “CCRI: mu-Net: Infrastructure to Advance Mobile Underwater Wireless Networking Research.” Working with their colleagues from several other universities, they plan to develop a community-shared infrastructure that will enable underwater research robots to exchange information more easily.

Read more about UA’s NSF grant

AWI-Affiliated Faculty News

UA Expert Contributes to United Nations FAO's State of Food and Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' new State of Food and Agriculture 2020 publication features data and contributions from The University of Alabama’s Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen.

Water quality and scarcity concerns are increasingly threatening food security and nutrition through their impacts on food systems—from agricultural production, through food processing to households and consumers. It’s important that urgent action take place as freshwater is growing scarcer as competition and demand increases. Lack of freshwater will have a tremendously negative impact for all users, particularly in poor and rural areas, on small-scale farmers and within vulnerable populations. This new publication addresses these issues and others.

Read the FAO report

Around Alabama ...

Op-ed: One of America’s Great Wildernesses is Being Destroyed, Bit by Bit, in a Silent Massacre
Author Ben Raines discusses how the Mobile River Basin, one of the richest and most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, is in decline due to “habitat destruction, development and lax enforcement of environmental regulations.”

Read the op-ed in the Los Angeles Times

Clean Water Advocates Want a Comprehensive Water Plan for Alabama that Creates Jobs
Environmentalists are optimistic about making progress on water resource issues and the state’s climate change preparedness under the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden and next Congress, particularly because the president-elect is indicating that economic gains go hand-in-hand with protecting the environment.

Under new leadership, a plan for preserving clean water and fair access to it may be within reach in Alabama. For Alabama’s water advocates, priorities are what to do with coal ash, how to prepare for droughts and flooding, improvements to water and wastewater infrastructure and providing relief to communities that have been affected by environmental degradation.

Continue reading this story on Alabama Political Reporter

U.S. Water News

Water Futures to Start Trading Amid Fears of Scarcity
Water is joining gold, oil and other commodities traded on Wall Street, highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across more of the world.

Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike will be able to hedge against — or bet on — potential water scarcity when CME Group Inc. launches contracts linked to the $1.1 billion California spot water market. According to Chicago-based CME, the futures will help water users manage risk and better align supply and demand.

Continue reading this story on E&E News
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AWI Podcasts Highlight
Water Research Faculty and Efforts

The Alabama Water Institute created the AWI Podcast as a way to introduce our affiliated faculty members and students, to help showcase their work and to show how their research is helping to improve every aspect of water across all walks of life.
There are one-on-one interviews with our researchers, but also some of their public talks at workshops and conferences. Topics have included hurricanes and coastal response, wastewater management, helping citizens in rural areas gain access to clean water, chemical effects on fish behavior and telling the history of streamflow before written records.

New interviews are added often and can be accessed by searching for “Alabama Water Institute” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio and Stitcher. Each episode is also available at
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Alabama Water Institute · The University of Alabama/Alabama Water Institute · Box 870206, Cyber Hall · Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0206 · USA

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