Grad Student Receives DOE Fellowship

Elias MassoudAugust 10, 2015 - Elias Massoud, a civil and environmental engineering doctoral student, has received a Science Graduate Student Researcher Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Energy. The fellowship encompasses a paid internship from January through May 2016 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where Massoud will work on testing different aspects of Earth’s systems in LANL’s Vegetation Dynamics Research Lab.

Massoud, whose UC Irvine adviser is Assistant Professor Jasper Vrugt, researches ways to improve prediction of terrestrial nitrogen and carbon fluxes. Simplistic empirical models used to predict the effects of nitrogen limitation and light competition on vegetation growth don’t properly factor in processes like photosynthesis and soil carbon storage, he says, affecting the reliability of predicted carbon flux. Massoud seeks to develop, test and calibrate a next-generation carbon-nitrogen dynamics model that can be integrated into current models, as a way to assess energy impacts on the global carbon cycle and future climates.

“This fellowship opens new windows of opportunity to use existing tools for numerical modeling in the field of ecology,” he says. “It will allow our research group to extend the work of applying modeling tools, such as data assimilation, to better represent environmental systems that ultimately dictate weather/climate patterns.”

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