A Spatial Model for Contaminants in the Nashua River Watershed

During the summer of 2019, I was a faculty mentor of the interdisciplinary Collaborative Summer Research Experience (CSRE) at Fitchburg State University. The project consists of sub-groups from different scientific disciplines working together to analyze the health of the Nashua River watershed. I led an undergraduate mathematical modeling sub-team consisting of myself and two rising senior undergraduate mathematics majors. We obtained water testing data for E. coli and conductivity in our region from the Nashua River Watershed Association and conducted a spatial modeling study of contaminants in the Nashua River watershed using Maximum Entropy Modeling (Maxent). Over a nine week period we conducted a full literature review, gathered dozens of potential predictor variables in the form of GIS raster maps, and analyzed dozens of Maxent models. We ultimately settled on four models for conductivity levels in the region and four models for levels of E. coli in the region (see image 1 below). We began a draft manuscript and my students presented our results at a final presentation for the general community. I am working with the students this semester to continue preparing our paper for publication.

Image 1: Preliminary Results for Predicting High and Low Water Conductivity Levels in the Nashua River Watershed

© 2015 by Benjamin Levy


Fitchburg State University

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis