NSF defines RAPID funding opportunities as awards for projects that possess a severe urgency to be addressed and/or are in need of quick response research. Specifically, this NSF funding mechanism is dedicated to awarding research projects that have limited availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as it relates to natural or anthropogenic disasters and unanticipated events. Burgin and Zeglin's collaborative project is titled RAPID: Are biogeochemical responses linked to the microbial composition of a defined nutrient and microbial input to a large river? This project seeks to develop a better understanding of "how large rivers transport and transform nutrients in the face of altered nutrient inputs and microbial loads" which is a key element missing in the understanding of lotic nutrient cycling.
Since nitrification and denitrification rates are limited by environmental factors, this research will also provide insight on biological versus geochemical controls over processes that support total removal of N from aquatic ecosystems. For ecosystem science in general, this project has the potential to improve the mechanistic understanding of future changes in ecosystem function and structure. The ultimate goal is to understand if water microbial community composition help to predict water quality in large rivers.
Both Zeglin and Burgin are part of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR OIA #1656006 Track 1 Award: Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant and Soil Systems across Kansas (MAPS) research team.