Working with Water

From left to right: portraits of Xiao-Ming Liu, Janet Nye and Rachel NobleWater sustains Earth and our very existence.

That’s why Carolina’s research on water addresses a variety of issues with global ramifications. The work in multiple schools, centers and departments spans an ocean of subjects ranging from the quality and availability of water to environmental concerns such as chemicals known as PFAS and other toxins to environmental racism.

The Well asked three faculty members about their water research — coastal public health threats, the effects of a warming ocean on marine life and fisheries, and how Earth’s geological record can help us take better care of the planet’s resources. Their breakthrough discoveries will make a difference in our future.

Rachel Noble is the Mary and Watts Hill Jr. Distinguished Professor at Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences and a professor in the Departments of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences. She leads a laboratory that conducts research on bacteria and viral pathogens in recreational waters, in shellfish and in stormwater and wastewater in estuaries.

Xiao-Ming Liu is an associate professor in the Earth, marine and environmental sciences department of the College of Arts and Sciences. As a geochemist, she looks at how chemical weathering — the decomposition of rocks through natural chemical reactions in the environment — influenced Earth’s evolution and will affect our climate.

Janet Nye, associate professor at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, studies how the warming ocean affects fish and fisheries. Nye uses mathematical and statistical methods to study fish populations and coastal ecosystems.

“By working toward a sustainable future, we can have a lasting impact on the lives of people around the world, creating a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous Earth for all,” said Liu.

Read the faculty interviews…

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