Sohaib Alahmed: Seeking solutions to strengthen coastal economies

This doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering is helping to more accurately track how pollutants move in Maine estuaries

What problem/s are you working to solve?

I am working to link the flow dynamics in Maine estuaries to water quality and the transport of pollutants to help inform better policy management and provide a decision tool for managers, fisheries and stakeholders.

What progress are you making toward solutions?

So far, our team has been able to quantify some critical information regarding the nature of water flow, pollution pathways, and transport in many important estuaries in Maine including Frenchman Bay, Jordan River and Taunton Bay.

How could your findings contribute to a sustainable future in Maine and beyond?

We hope that the findings will help to optimize shellfish activities and management by locating regions that are most vulnerable or susceptible to pollution and finding the optimum leasing sites for expanding shellfishing in Maine estuaries.

Why did you get involved with the Mitchell Center Strengthening Coastal Economies project?

We are performing in-situ measurements in Taunton Bay, near Frenchman Bay, to provide insights about the flow characteristics and water quality in these areas. The measured data will be also used to reinforce a numerical model that simulates the flow in Frenchman Bay.

What do you like best about working on an interdisciplinary team? What is most challenging?

Working with a team of people with many different backgrounds helps expand my research perspective. Instead of looking at any issues through a keyhole, I can see the entire picture through my team’s perspective. What is challenging, however, is how to be an effective part of such a team and how to communicate with team members in an efficient way to get my ideas across.

What do you find rewarding about collaborating with stakeholders? Most challenging?

Seeing my work used in practice by stakeholders is rewarding for me. This is my currency as a scholar. The challenge is how to make the complex scientific work and outcomes easier to understand for everyone involved.

What sustains you?

The unlimited desire for invoking my knowledge in helping people.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I want to be among the people who pave the way to sustainable and resilient coastal communities in Maine and across the country.