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Archive: September, 2021
  • Field Site Analysis of Giant Salvinia Nitrogen Content and Salvinia Weevil Density

    Abstract: In 2012, a giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta Mitchell) biological control project was initiated in Louisiana. Although similar quantities of salvinia weevils (Cyrtobagous salviniae Calder and Sands) were released at all sites, weevil densities were highly variable among sites. Additionally, signs of plant nitrogen depletion (yellowing plants) were observed at some sites. Because it is well known that plant nutrition can affect the success of a biocontrol agent because of slowed development and/or reduced fecundity, the correlation between giant salvinia nitrogen content and Salvinia weevil density was investigated during the growing seasons of the second and fourth years. During 2013, weevils were reintroduced to sites, and the magnitude of adult weevil density increase varied by site. Giant salvinia nitrogen content varied among sites and sampling dates. Upper Big Break plants had greater nitrogen than all other sites during 75% of sampling dates. Additionally, adult and larval densities were significantly correlated to plant nitrogen content. During 2015, trends were less distinct and weevil densities and nitrogen content varied based on the interaction between sampling date and site, but a significant correlation was not detected. Results confirmed published reports of the importance of plant nitrogen content to salvinia weevil productivity. Additional studies are warranted to evaluate and understand the role of nitrogen at giant salvinia biocontrol field sites.
  • Extra-Wide-Angle Parabolic Equations in Motionless and Moving Media

    Abstract: Wide-angle parabolic equations (WAPEs) play an important role in physics. They are derived by an expansion of a square-root pseudo-differential operator in one-way wave equations, and then solved by finite-difference techniques. In the present paper, a different approach is suggested. The starting point is an extra-wide-angle parabolic equation (EWAPE) valid for small variations of the refractive index of a medium. This equation is written in an integral form, solved by a perturbation technique, and transformed to the spectral domain. The resulting split-step spectral algorithm for the EWAPE accounts for the propagation angles up to 90􀀁 with respect to the nominal direction. This EWAPE is also generalized to large variations in the refractive index. It is shown that WAPEs known in the literature are particular cases of the two EWAPEs. This provides an alternative derivation of the WAPEs, enables a better understanding of the underlying physics and ranges of their applicability, and opens an opportunity for innovative algorithms. Sound propagation in both motionless and moving media is considered. The split-step spectral algorithm is particularly useful in the latter case since complicated partial derivatives of the sound pressure and medium velocity reduce to wave vectors (essentially, propagation angles) in the spectral domain.
  • Chemical Management Strategies for Starry Stonewort: A Mesocosm Study

    Abstract: US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) approved algaecides and herbicides are frequently utilized to manage nuisance algae and aquatic macrophytes. However, there is limited information available on the effectiveness of these products for the management of starry stonewort. Thus, the goal of this research was to discern effective chemical control products for later growth stages of starry stonewort using mesocosm studies. Eleven treatments were evaluated using various combinations of four copper-based products, endothall, diquat, and carfentrazone – all with USEPA registrations for use in aquatic sites. To assess treatment efficacy, water quality, photophysiology, biomass changes, and bulbil viability were evaluated. Nine of the eleven treatments yielded lower dissolved oxygen concentrations and higher specific conductance when compared to the control. Photophysiological response varied by condition, but seven of eleven treatments resulted in significantly lower fluorescent and maximum fluorescent yield. Five of these also exhibited significantly lower average photosynthetic yields, with combination treatments resulting in more drastic decreases. Ten of the eleven treatments had significantly less biomass compared to the control when measured via wet weight; however, only four treatments were significant when measured via dry weight. Lastly, all conditions utilizing copper-based products significantly reduced bulbil viability while non-copper products had no impact.
  • Initial Survey of Microplastics in Bottom Sediments from United States Waterways

    Abstract: Given the reported extent of microplastics in the aquatic environment, environmentally relevant exposure information for sediments dredged by the US Army Corps of Engineers will lend context to the risks posed by this contaminant during dredging. We measured the occurrence, abundance, and polymer composition of microplastics in sediments collected from nine dredged waterways and two non-dredged reference areas. The number of particles in sediment samples ranged from 162 to 6110 particles/kg dry wt., with a mean of 1636 particles/kg dry wt. Fragments were the most prevalent shape observed among the 11 study sites (100% frequency of occurrence), followed by fibers (81%), spheres (75%), foams (38%) and films (34%). Based on analyses of chemical composition of the particles using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, polyethylene:propylene was the most common polymer type observed. Consistent with results presented by other investigators microplastic concentrations and polymer types in bottom sediments in this study were also aligned with the most widely used plastics worldwide.
  • Identifying Degradation Products Responsible for Increased Toxicity of UV-Degraded Insensitive Munitions

    Abstract: Degradation of insensitive munitions (IMs) by ultraviolet (UV) light has become a concern following observations that some UV-degradation products have increased toxicity relative to parent compounds in aquatic organisms. This investigation focused on the Army's IM formulation, IMX101, composed of three IM constituents: 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO), and nitroguanidine (NQ). The IM constituents and IMX101 were irradiated in a UV photo-reactor and then administered to Daphnia pulex in acute (48 h) exposures comparing toxicities relative to the parent materials. UV-degradation of DNAN had little effect on mortality whereas mortality for UV-degraded NTO and NQ increased by factors of 40.3 and 1240, making UV-degraded NQ the principle driver of toxicity when IMX101 is UV-degraded. Toxicity investigations for specific products formed during UV-degradation of NQ, confirmed greater toxicity than the parent NQ for degradation products. Summation of the individual toxic units for the complete set of individually measured UV-degradation products identified for NQ only accounted for 25% of the overall toxicity measured in the exposures to the UV-degraded NQ product mixture. Given the underestimation of toxicity using the sum toxic units for the individually measured UV-degradation products of NQ, we conclude that: (1) other unidentified NQ degradation products contributed principally to toxicity and/or (2) synergistic toxicological interactions occurred among the NQ degradation product mixture that exacerbated toxicity.
  • Integration of Autonomous Electric Transport Vehicles into a Tactical Microgrid: Final Report

    Abstract: The objective of the Autonomous Transport Innovation (ATI) technical research program is to investigate current gaps and challenges and develop solutions to integrate emerging electric transport vehicles, vehicle autonomy, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging and microgrid technologies with military legacy equipment. The ATI research area objectives are to: identify unique military requirements for autonomous transportation technologies; identify currently available technologies that can be adopted for military applications and validate the suitability of these technologies to close need gaps; identify research and operational tests for autonomous transport vehicles; investigate requirements for testing and demonstrating of bidirectional-vehicle charging within a tactical environment; develop requirements for a sensored, living laboratory that will be used to assess the performance of autonomous innovations; and integrate open standards to promote interoperability and broad-platform compatibility. This final report summarizes the team’s research, which resulted in an approach to develop a sensored, living laboratory with operational testing capability to assess the safety, utility, interoperability, and resiliency of autonomous electric transport and V2G technologies in a tactical microgrid. The living laboratory will support research and assessment of emerging technologies and determine the prospect for implementation in defense transport operations and contingency base energy resilience.
  • Autonomous Navigation and Mapping in a Simulated Environment

    Abstract: Unknown Environment Exploration (UEE) with an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) is extremely challenging. This report investigates a frontier exploration approach, in simulation, that leverages Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) to efficiently explore unknown areas by finding navigable routes. The solution utilizes a diverse sensor payload that includes wheel encoders, three-dimensional (3-D) LIDAR, and Red, Green, Blue and Depth (RGBD) cameras. The main goal of this effort is to leverage frontier-based exploration with a UGV to produce a 3-D map (up to 10 cm resolution). The solution provided leverages the Robot Operating System (ROS).
  • A Multi-biome Study of Tree Cover Detection Using the Forest Cover Index

    Abstract: Tree cover maps derived from satellite and aerial imagery directly support civil and military operations. However, distinguishing tree cover from other vegetative land covers is an analytical challenge. While the commonly used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can identify vegetative cover, it does not consistently distinguish between tree and low-stature vegetation. The Forest Cover Index (FCI) algorithm was developed to take the multiplicative product of the red and near infrared bands and apply a threshold to separate tree cover from non-tree cover in multispectral imagery (MSI). Previous testing focused on one study site using 2-m resolution commercial MSI from WorldView-2 and 30-m resolution imagery from Landsat-7. New testing in this work used 3-m imagery from PlanetScope and 10-m imagery from Sentinel-2 in imagery in sites across 12 biomes in South and Central America and North Korea. Overall accuracy ranged between 23% and 97% for Sentinel-2 imagery and between 51% and 98% for PlanetScope imagery. Future research will focus on automating the identification of the threshold that separates tree from other land covers, exploring use of the output for machine learning applications, and incorporating ancillary data such as digital surface models and existing tree cover maps.
  • Performance Testing and Modeling of a Transpired Ventilation Preheat Solar Wall: Performance Evaluation of Facilities at Fort Drum, NY, and Kansas Air National Guard, Topeka, KS

    Abstract: This work performed measurement and verification of installed, operational solar wall systems at Fort Drum, NY, and Forbes Field, Air National Guard, Topeka, KS. Actual annual savings were compared estimated savings generated by a solar wall modeling tool (RETScreen). A comparison with the RETScreen modeling tool shows that the measured actively heated air provided by the solar wall provides 57% more heat than the RETScreen tool predicted, after accounting for boiler efficiency. The solar wall at Fort Drum yields a net savings of $851/yr, for a simple payback of 146 years and a SIR of 0.16. RETScreen models indicate that the solar wall system at Forbes Field, Kansas Air National Guard, Topeka, KS saves $9,350/yr, for a simple payback of 58.8 years and a SIR of 0.34. Although results showed that, due to low natural gas prices, the Fort Drum system was not economically viable, it was recommended that the system still be used to meet renewable energy and fossil fuel reduction goals. The current system becomes economical (SIR 1.00) at a natural gas rate of $16.00/MMBTU or $1.60 /therm.
  • Morphodynamics of Barrier-Inlet Systems in the Context of Regional Sediment Management, with Case Studies from West-Central Florida, USA

    Abstract: The temporal and spatial scales controlling the morphodynamics of barrier-inlet systems are critical components of regional sediment management practice. This paper discusses regional sediment management methods employed at multiple barrier-inlet systems, with case studies from West-Central Florida. A decision-support tool is proposed for regional sediment management with discussion of its application to barrier-inlet systems. Connecting multiple barrier islands and inlets at appropriate spatio-temporal scales is critical in developing an appropriately scoped sediment management plan for a barrier-inlet system. Evaluating sediment bypassing capacity and overall inlet morphodynamics can better inform regional sand sharing along barrier-inlet coastlines; particularly where sediment resources are scarce and a close coupling between inlet dredging and beach placement is vital to long-term sustainable management. Continued sea-level rise and anthropogenic activities may intensify the need for investigating longer-term processes and expanding regional planning at a centennial timescale and are acknowledged as challenging tasks for RSM studies. Specifically, we suggested that a regionally focused, multi-inlet study was necessary for management plan of individual inlet for the west-central Florida case studies. Key recommendations based on the case studies are included.