UF Study Provides New Insight into Origin, Evolution of Flowering Plants
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CLAS Geography Graduate Receives Presidential Recognition

Pamela Nagler (B.S. Geography), a research physical scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), was recognized Monday, December 13 with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Awarded for innovation that advances scientific and engineering frontiers and for scientific leadership, the highest recognition granted by the United States government to early career scientists and engineers.

In a White House press release, President Obama said "Science and technology have long been at the core of America's economic strength and global leadership. I am confident that these individuals, who have shown such tremendous promise so early in their careers, will go on to make breakthroughs and discoveries that will continue to move our nation forward in the years ahead."

Nagler is recognized for her work comparing the evapotranspiration (ET) rates of plants along the Lower Colorado River. Nagler and her team developed an innovative method for estimating plant water use by analyzing data from satellites and ‘flux towers’, instruments that measure moisture passing from plant leaves into the atmosphere.

Nagler's research proved that saltcedar, an invasive shrub that has been the target of an aggresive eradication program for 25 years, is not as water-hungry and destructive to the environment as previously thought. Her data is changing the perception of saltcedar to a beneficial low-water user that grows in salty soils and supports wildlife. Multi-million dollar eradication plans are now under review as a result of the Nagler's data.

Nagler's ET estimation methods are being widely applied by scientists in arid and semi-arid ecosystems for local, regional, and continental scales of measurement.

“Nagler’s findings have provided relevant and meaningful answers to land management questions throughout the Southwest,” said Kate Kitchell, center director of the Southwest Biology Science Center. “Her research offers hope that both ecological and human water needs can be accommodated by the river systems in the arid Southwest.”

Credits

Writer

Jeff Stevens, Communications and Outreach, jstevens@ufl.edu

Media Contact

Melanie Gade, Office of Communications and Publishing, 703- 648-4353
mgade@usgs.gov

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