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Geoscience graduate student awarded grant for environmental research

Ben Miller, a WKU geoscience graduate student from Springfield, Mo., has been awarded a $1,000 research grant from the Missouri Speleological Survey to aid in hydrology research at Carroll Cave in central Missouri.

The research grant was awarded to Miller for his proposal “Identifying the Recharge and Discharge Features of Carroll Cave, Missouri, through Dye Tracing.” Miller’s research will delineate the recharge area, or watershed, of Carroll Cave, a large stream cave with more than 17 miles of known passage and significant habitat for the Southern cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus).

“Ben’s success both in the project and with this grant exemplify the vision of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program (ARTP),” said Dr. Chris Groves, Director of the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute within the ARTP and Miller’s graduate research advisor. “Not only is Ben getting great technical experience in the environmental field, but the project makes an important contribution to the ecological protection of this sensitive groundwater system.”

The Missouri Speleological Survey, an organization dedicated to the exploration, education and documentation of Missouri cave resources, awarded Miller the funds to subsidize the cost of fluorescent water-tracing dyes and other equipment used in the mapping of groundwater flow. Other support for the project comes from WKU’s Hoffman Institute and Crawford Hydrology Lab, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service office in Columbia, Mo., and the Carroll Cave Conservancy.

Geography and Geology Department Head David Keeling noted that “research projects by Hoffman undergraduate and graduate students continue to bring regional, national, and international recognition to WKU. This award is further recognition of the important local contributions that our geoscience students are making to environmental understanding in our region.”

Contact: Chris Groves at chris.groves@wku.edu or (270) 745-5974

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