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Bonner Appointed Director of Center for the Environment and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University
James S. Bonner, executive director of the Shoreline Environmental Research Facility at Texas A&M University, has assumed leadership of the Clarkson Center for the Environment. In addition to his appointment as center director, Bonner also will hold a faculty appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Bonner, whose primary research interests are in the field of coastal processes with an emphasis on aquatic particles and coastal observations, brings more than 20 years of research and teaching experience to the Center directorship. Bonner also has scholarly interests in environmental hazard assessment and remediation technologies.
Clarkson is comprised of a diverse and widely-distributed community, much of which has interests in environmental matters, said Clarkson University Provost Thomas C. Young. "We all are truly fortunate to have attracted an individual with Dr. Jim Bonner's vision, experience, and enthusiasm to become the director of our Center for the Environment. Thinking globally, we face an ever-present need for cleaner, more efficient solutions to our societal challenges. Yet these challenges also provide opportunities for innovation and economic development, which allows us to act locally, too. This is an exciting time to be at the forefront of the search for environmentally appropriate solutions, and we look forward to the growth of the center and an expanding role for its activities under Dr. Bonner's leadership."
Bonner received both of his graduate degrees from Clarkson -- an M.S. in civil engineering and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering, in 1980 and 1985, respectively. He received his B.A. in biology from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1976.
A major focus for the field program involved a wetland facility on Houston's San Jacinto River. At the wetland, Bonner and his team conducted several test spills to assess the effectiveness of various remediation technologies. At the same time, Bonner also worked to establish a large wave tank research facility, the Shoreline Environmental Research Facility (SERF) in Corpus Christi. SERF is an environmental field station that simulates coastal environments to study processes controlling contaminate fate, effects and remediation.
At his research facility, Bonner also developed and implemented technologies that use high-frequency radar to map surface water currents along the Texas coastline. The mapping system provides broad aerial coverage and can produce multidimensional maps to visualize water movement in ways that assist oil spill response teams.
Bonner's research also has developed technologies that provide real-time continuous monitoring to help detect natural phenomena that occur infrequently and unpredictably. Using in-situ sensing, or "sensing in place," Bonner organized the sensors into stationary or mobile platforms. Important parameters, such as hydrocarbon contaminant concentrations, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, and particle size distribution can be measured with these sensors.
Last summer, the WATer Environmental Research System (WATERS) Network, established by the National Science Foundation, created the Corpus Christi Bay Test Bed, an Environment Information System, which Bonner has used to facilitate his research on oxygen depletion in water. Bonner plans to extend his NSF-funded WATERS Network to in-situ sensing of the Great Lakes and Adirondack watersheds.
The Clarkson Center for the Environment is home to the University's environmental activities associated with research, interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate degree programs, and outreach programs. The center was established to increase collaboration among faculty and to support Clarkson's long-standing expertise in energy and the environment. Its mission is to facilitate the development, promotion and operation of environmental activities within the University and among its partners.