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Carbon and water fluxes in tropical peatlands: field experiments, ecological models, and remote sensing

Charles Harvey, Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, MIT

* Wind dispersal in Southeast Asian trees

Alex Cobb, Research Scientist, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology – Center for Environmental Sensing & Modeling (SMART-CENSAM)
Singapore is surrounded by tropical peatlands that have been a carbon sink of global significance over the last eleven thousand years.
CENSAM’s peat swamp project uses hydrological and ecosystem exchange measurements to understand the development of individual peat mounds, 2–15 kilometers across, on timescales of thousands of years. However, the role of tropical peat swamps in the global carbon budget has unfolded on a regional scale, and goes back even further in time, to the Last Glacial Maximum—the time in the last ice age when sea levels in Southeast Asia were at their lowest—and beyond.  This talk reports on progress towards better understanding how peat swamp forests can migrate over time.  To do so, we use a combination of genetic analysis and a study of wind dispersal of peat swamp tree fruits using a vertical wind tunnel, in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Lee of Raffles Institution, Dr. Shawn Lum of Nanyang Technological University, and Prof. Koichi Kamiya of Ehime University.

* Investigating the climate impacts of fires

Benjamin Grandey, Research Scientist, SMART-CENSAM
Wildfires emit organic carbon aerosols, small particles suspended in the atmosphere. These aerosols may cool the climate system via interactions with sunlight and clouds. We have used a global climate model to investigate the cooling effects of these aerosols. We find that ignoring inter-annual variability of the emissions may lead to an overestimation of the cooling effect of the aerosols emitted by fires.

* Norovirus aptasensor: an aptamer-based biosensing platform for environmental pathogen monitoring

Masaaki Kitajima, Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental Engineering, Hokkaido University

* Seasonal study of selected trace metals, sources and bioavailability around Singapore: connecting natural and anthropogenic sources to regional scale distributions

Gonzalo Carrasco, Postdoctoral Associate, SMART-CENSAM

* Affordable robust multi-domain drones for sensing

Tawfiq Taher, Senior Research Manager, SMART-CENSAM

Robotics, sensing and Interpretation

Nicholas Patrikalakis, Kawasaki Professor of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

The objective of this lecture is to provide an overview of the accomplishments of the WAVES laboratory during CENSAM Phases I and II, including vehicle and sensor development, algorithm development, laboratory and field testing of vehicles, sensors and algorithms.  A timeline of activities, sea trials, external funding, and technology transfer are included.   In addition, the career paths of our postdocs and
research staff is summarized. Collaboration with Singapore colleagues and institutions are also highlighted.  Specific examples of our work to date are presented including:
(1) field sensing and interpretation of phytoplankton blooms;
(2) path and inspection planning for sensing complex environments, and;
(3) efficiently sensing the status of a civil engineering construction site and providing a geometric and a semantic model of the site.


Driving research to impact: adaptive Innovation™ approach

Howard Califano, Director, SMART Innovation Centre

Visenti, taking innovation from lab to market place

Ami Preis, Director & Co-Founder, Visenti Ltd.
Carbon and water fluxes in tropical peatlands: field experiments, ecological models, and remote sensing Charles Harvey, Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, MIT Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum

From biological cilia to miniaturized flow sensor - a Nature-Inspired innovation

Ajay Kottapalli, Research Scientist, SMART-CENSAM
Sensornomics is a start-up company that has its origins within the Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM), Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART).  It was within this ecosystem that our flagship product, Nanoflow, an extremely miniaturized flow sensor, attained to technological maturity and was ready to begin the journey of commercialization. Sensornomics possesses a deep expertise in the domains of nanosensor engineering and fluid mechanics. Leveraging on our strengths, Sensornomics has the vision of being a sensor company that is renowned for being the forefront of innovation and data intelligence. Its ambition is to consistently create novel sensors that solve critical sensing needs leading to mitigation of critical problems.

Safe-guarding urban water with the holistic LEDIF technology

Kelvin Ng, Research Scientist, SMART-CENSAM
The vast extent of water bodies and water supply systems renders them susceptible to accidental or intentional contamination. The challenge of maintaining a safe and sufficient water supply system to meet the needs of a growing population and enable economic growth is compounded in a nation such as Singapore which has only limited natural sources of fresh water, making effective monitoring of water supply infrastructure a critical national need. A holistic multi-mode sensing technology, called LEDIF, is developed for in situ real-time sensing of contaminants (high and low molecular weight hydrocarbons) and natural substances (biological pigments, CDOM, among others) with the purpose of safe-guarding urban water.

Biomimetic and graphene chemical sensors for environmental monitoring

Jianmin Miao, Associate Professor at School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Significant Rice Crop Yield Reduction in Southern Vietnam due to Changing Climate

Liong Shie-Yui, Deputy Director, Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), National University of Singapore (NUS)
The research works underpins the link of future climate changes and its impacts on rice crop productivity over the Mekong River Delta in Southern Vietnam. The study applied climate outputs at high resolution from a regional climate model (WRF) as inputs to the DSSAT crop modelling system.

These dynamically downscaled WRF outputs from three different global models (CCSM3, MIROC-medres and ECHAM5) were used to analyse crop growth under a wider range of climate uncertainties.  The findings from this study suggest that rainfed crops, in general, produce less yield than irrigated crops. Significant rice production reduction of about 35% is projected in 2020-2050 period due to decreases in future rainfall amounts. Though irrigation could significantly improve crop yields, the main challenge is to find water sources given decreases in rainfall. With 90% of rice export from Vietnam originating from the Mekong River Delta region and given Singapore’s total rice import from Vietnam being about 30%, the study findings that rice yield is expected to reduce by 35% in 2020-2050 is crucial.  This information is immensely useful for policy makers in their strategic planning  to diversify rice import in the context of Food Security. The study is also useful to insurance agencies and other regional stake holders. This study will be extended to cover two other major countries (Thailand and India) from which Singapore imports additional about 60% rice. Future study will also look into other staples and vegetables.

External influences on air quality in Singapore

Steven Barrett, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Finmeccanica Professor of Engineering, and Director of the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, MIT

Large-Scale Networked Wave-Field Sensing and Reconstruction for Maritime Operational Guidance - Predictability and Capacity

Dick Yue, Philip J. Solondz Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at School of Engineering, MIT

Energy efficiency in desalination: a thermodynamic systems problem

John Lienhard, Director, Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Laboratory, and Director, Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy, MIT
Desalination has been deployed worldwide to expand the supply of freshwater, especially for coastal populations, and its use has increased rapidly.  The cost and lifetime of plants has also improved steadily. But concerns remain about the energy consumption of desalination.  In this talk, we will discuss research directed at understanding the causes of energy inefficiency in various desalination processes and efforts to adapt concepts from thermal engineering to improve the design of both thermal and membrane desalination systems. Topics to be discussed include thermodynamic limits to performance, irreversibilities, thermodynamic balancing, with examples drawn from reverse osmosis and humidification-dehumidification. Claims about energy savings from high permeability membranes will be critically assessed. Concentration polarization with high permeability will be also considered.  Exergetic efficiency will be compared for a spectrum of technologies and feed salinities.

Investigating the air microbiome in Singapore

Enzo Acerbi, Research Fellow Singapore Center for Environmental Life Science Engineering (SCELSE)
“The air we breathe contains millions of microbes, yet we are largely unaware of what they are, what they do and how they respond to changing environmental conditions. Air is a key route of global microorganism cycling and a major source of human microbial exposure, but it remains the last of the Earth’s major ecosystems (after terrestrial and aquatic) to be explored for microbial life. Technological advancements are only now enabling the effective extraction of biological information from the air in the form of DNA. This presentation provides an overview on the Air Microbiome research project, which focuses on Singapore’s urbanized tropical environment. “