Rebecca Logsdon Muenich
I am a new Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. Previously I was a postdoc at the Graham Sustinability Institute under  Dr. Donald Scavia  from 2015-2017. I completed my Ph.D. (2015) and M.S.E. (2011) in Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University under  Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey . I began my career in my homestate, Arkansas, by finishing my B.S. (2009) in Biological Engineering (minors in Geology and Mathematics) from the University of Arkansas under the mentoring of  Dr. Sreekala Bajwa
Dedicated to sustaining natural resources into the future.
Postdoctroal Grant Work
*Indicates direct involvement in the writing of the grant

Guiding Management Strategies to Meet P Loading Targets* - Following the identification of new P loading targets, the Erb Family Foundation and the Joyce Foundation supported our effort to bring together 6 modeling groups to explore options for reaching those targets for this agriculturally-dominated watershed. Our final report  identified several potential pathways to success, but each requires expansive — almost unprecedented – implementation of agricultural best management practices. Two peer-reviewed articles have culminated from this work ( Muenich et al. 2016; Scavia et al. 2017).

Enhancing Sustainability In Coastal Communities Threatened By Harmful Algal Blooms* -   In this NSF-funded project we focus on advancing understanding of (1) the coupled human-natural system and (2) knowledge co-production, using harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Great Lakes as a test case.  As HAB events have been increasing globally over the past decade and directly impact ecosystem services for coastal communities (e.g., drinking water provision, fishing and recreation), understanding, predicting and alleviating this water quality issue is a problem of great societal relevance.  We will study the Western Lake Erie because of our ability to build upon previous research and existing datasets and our previous involvement the region’s policy networks.  Project website.

Assessing the Effects of Time-Lags and Climate on Management Practices* - With funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, this project is designed to provide support to decision makers using multi-model approaches to produce robust management recommendations to improve Great Lakes water quality. Our objective is to use multiple Maumee watershed and lake models to determine the time required for conservation practices to reach reduction targets, the impact climate change will have on the effectiveness of these practices, and the resulting impacts on Maumee Bay and the Western basin of Lake Erie.  More details...

Cooling the Hotspots: River Raisin Agricultural Conservation Pay for Performance Initiative - Typical incentives for agricultural conservation in the United States is payment for practice installation rather than for the performance of that practice towards environmental improvement in its implemented location. In this USEPA GLRI-funded project, we developed a pay-for-performance (PFP) system that uses the Soil and Water Assessment Tool to model performance with and without selected practices to help set payments to producers.  More details...

Assessing and Addressing the Phosphorus Loads from the Huron-Erie Corridor* - This study, supported by the Erb Family Foundation, models nutrient dynamics within the bi-national watersheds draining into the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, including the Clinton, Rouge, Syndman, and Thames Rivers, as well as inputs from the cities of Detroit and Windsor. The Detroit River is one of the major sources of phosphorus entering Lake Erie, and although it is not a major driver of Western Basin harmful algal blooms, it is a significant driver of Central Basin hypoxia.  As such, developing guidance on the relative contributions from its sub-watersheds and urban areas is important. Project website.

Assessing Huron River Flooding Impacts - Managing infrastructure for increased flood risk is important for adapting to climate change.  In thisU-M Water Center funded project, we quantified Huron River flood risk due to climate change.  More details...
Doctoral Research Projects
*Indicates direct involvement in the writing of the grant

Development and Application of Quantitative Methods for Ecosystem Services - my main dissertation research focused on applying models to evaluate and quantify ecosystem services. I was supported from an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Purdue Doctoral Fellowship. My first approach was to develop quantitative indices to assess ecosystem services (Logsdon and Chaubey 2013). Next, I aimed to apply and test my methods in other watersheds. This included comparing my methods to the InVEST model in two watersheds (Dennedy-Frank et al. 2016) and applying my methods on a large scale, without using model results (Li et al. 2016). I also focused some effort on expanding my methods be investigating the use of models in evaluating other ecosystem services, including aquatic biodiversity and its associated services (Muenich et al. 2016) and climate regulation services using the DayCent model. 

Understanding Indiana Farmer Perceptions of Ecosystem Services* - Throughout my dissertation work on ecosystem services, I recognized the importance of having knowledgeable stakeholders involved in order to protect and restore services. Working with two graduate student colleagues, I helped co-author a successful grant to the North-Central Region for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. This worked aimed to evaluate the baseline knowledge and perceptions that Indiana agricultural producers had of ecosystem services in order to better inform future management (Logsdon et al. 2015).  Project reports and final paper.

Evaluation of Citizen Science Water Quality Data - During my doctoral career, I volunteered for a local watershed organization, the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation. WREC operates a 2x/year sampling "Blitz" to collect a snapshot of water quality data throughout their watershed. Although they openly share the results of their data with the public, I wanted to test whether or not data collected in field by volunteers with no scientific training could compare to lab-analyzed data. I published the findings in the inaugural issue of the open-source journal Citizen Science: Theory and Practice ( Muenich et al. 2016 ).