UA Graduate Student Receives Scholarship to Protect America’s Everglades

Zhuoran Yu conducting research in a marsh
UA graduate student Zhuoran Yu conducting research in the wetlands with former UA postdoc, Dr. Sean Charles.

Zhuoran Yu, a graduate student in The University of Alabama Department of Biological Sciences, was selected to receive a 2020 ForEverglades Scholarship from the Everglades Foundation, awarded to graduate students who are conducting research for the betterment of America’s Everglades.

Yu’s research project, titled “Determining the Biotic and Abiotic Drivers of Methane Emissions for Freshwater Marshes of the Florida Everglades,” focuses on methane emissions. Wetlands are the largest natural source of methane and methane is a more potent gas than the most studied greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. “Wetlands act as a double-edged sword since it sequesters carbon dioxide but releases methane at the same time,” Yu said.

Working with Drs. Gregory Starr and Christina Staudhammer, as well as collaborating with Florida International University, Yu hopes that her research can help with estimating the global methane budget and improve water management in South Florida. “I also wish my research can reach local schools in Miami and raise attention for the wetland’s important role in climate change.”

Yu expects to graduate in the Summer or Fall of 2021 and will pursue a Ph.D. degree, hoping to stay in academia and become a professor.