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Elizabeth Prior

BSE Ph.D. Student
  • NSF GRFP Fellow
  • Walts Scholar
  • Remote Sensing IGEP Fellow

Ph.D., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2024 Expected

B.C.E., Civil Engineering, Auburn University, 2019

August 2019-Present, Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering

May 2021-August 2021, DOE SULI Intern, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Earth & Environmental Sciences Division; Earth Systems Observations (EES-14); Atmosphere, Climate and Ecosystem Science Team

January 2019-August 2019, Auburn University Undergraduate Research Fellow, Auburn University Civil Engineering Department

August 2018-December 2018, ORISE SULI Intern, Environmental Sciences Division Oak Ridge National Laboratory

May 2018-August 2018, Undergraduate Researcher, Texas A&M Costa Rica NSF REU “Ecohydrology of Tropical Montane Forests – Diversity in Science, Interdisciplinary Breadth, and Global Awareness”

August 2017-May 2018, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Auburn University Civil Engineering Water Resources

May 2017-August 2017, Intern, US Army Corps of Engineers Fort Carson South Resident Office Colorado Springs

August 2016-May 2017, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Auburn University Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility

May 2015-August 2015, Student Laboratory Assistant, USDA ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

  • April 2021-Present, NASA Virginia Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship
  • March 2021-Present, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)
  • August 2019-Present, Remote Sensing IGEP Fellow at Virginia Tech
  • August 2019-Present, Pratt Fellow at Virginia Tech
  •  August 2019-Present, Walts Fellow at Virginia Tech
  • January 2019-August 2019, Auburn University Undergraduate Research Fellowship
  • August 2018-August 2019, NASA Alabama Space Grant Undergraduate Scholar
  • Spring 2020, Spring 2021, guest lecture for GIS for Engineers (BSE 4344, BSE 5344), Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering
  • January 2018-May 2018, Laboratory Teaching Assistant for Hydraulics (CIVL3110), Auburn University Civil Engineering
  • January 2016-December 2016, Assistant for Auburn University’s Academic Initiatives in the First Year Experience Office
Drone lidar point cloud collected over StREAM Lab
Drone lidar point cloud collected over StREAM Lab

Program Focus

My research aims to better understand and model how vegetation affects flooding, specifically how vegetation resists flow (vegetative roughness). My research combines field measurements from StREAM Lab, drone remote sensing data (lidar and multispectral data) and flood modeling (2D HEC-RAS) to explore ways to better represent floodplain vegetation through space and time. Additionally, I will investigate how vegetative roughness changes with inundation depth, between seasons and between floods. This research will not only improve flood modeling, but also aid in other related facets, like sediment transport, biogeomorphologyand stream restoration.

Reviewed Journals

E.M. Prior, G.R. Miller, K. Brumbelow (2021). Topographic and Landcover Influence on Lower Atmospheric Profiles Measured by Small Unoccupied Aerial Systems (sUAS). Drones, 5(3), 82.

E.M. Prior, C.A. Aquilina, J.A. Czuba, T.J. Pingel, W.C. Hession(2021). Estimating Floodplain Vegetative Roughness for Hydrodynamic Modeling using Drone-Based Laser Scanning and Structure from Motion Photogrammetry. Remote Sensing, 13(13), 2616.

E.M. Prior, F.C. O’Donnell, C. Brodbeck, W.N. Donald, G.B. Runion, S. Shepherd (2020). Measuring high levels of total suspended solids and turbidity using small unoccupied aerial systems (sUAS) multispectral imagery. Drones, 4(3), 54.

E.M. Prior, F.C. O’Donnell, C. Brodbeck, G.B. Runion, S. Shepherd (2020). Investigating sUAS multispectral imagery for total suspended solids and turbidity monitoring for small streams. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 1-26. doi: 10.1080/01431161.2020.1798546

E.M. Prior, K. Brumbelow, G.R. Miller (2019). Measurement of above‐canopy meteorological profiles using unmanned aerial systems. Hydrological Processes, 34(3), 865-867.

Oral and Poster Presentations

E.M. Prior, C.A. Aquilina, J.A. Czuba, T.J. Pingel, W.C. Hession (2020). “Estimating Floodplain Vegetative Roughness using Drone-Based Laser Scanning and Structure from Motion Photogrammetry”. Oral Presentation. American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2020 Fall Meeting.

V.A. Thomas, P.T. Williams, R.H. Wynne, J. Ranson, D.J. Harding, K.F. Huemmrich, P.K.E. Campbell, E.M. Prior, W.C. Hession, L. Lehmann (2020). “Diurnal observations of forest spectral traits from UAS platforms”. AGU 2020 Fall Meeting.

W.D. Nguyen, R.Buskirk, D.D. Riddle, L. Gomez, R.Hamid, G.Aguilar, E.M. Prior, G.Miller, A.P.Smith, J.Aitkenhead-Petersen, K.Brumbelow, G.W. Moore, P.S. Knappett (2020). “Mass fluxes of nitrogen and carbon from soil water to a first-order mountain stream in a pristine Costa Rican rain forest in response to individual rain events”. Geological Society of America 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting.

E.M. Prior, F.C. O’Donnell, C.J. Brodbeck, W.N. Donald, G.B. Runion (2019). “Investigating UAV Multispectral Imagery for Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity Monitoring in Small Streams”. AGU2019 Fall Meetingand American Ecological Engineering Society 2019 Meeting. 2019AGUFMEP11C2138P

E.M.Prior, R.A. McManamay, C.R. DeRolph (2018). Fish passage through dams in North America: New GIS database and threatened fish evaluation. Oak Ridge National Laboratory 2018 Student Intern Session

E.M.Prior, J.K.Brumbelow, G.R.Miller, G.W.Moore (2018). “Using UAV Technology to Collect Vertical Temperature and Relative Humidity Profiles over a Tropical Montane Rainforest”. AGU 2018 Fall Meetingand Texas A&M Summer Research Symposium. 2018AGUFM.H13P1983P

M.R.Flores, A. Keebler, E.M. Prior, G.W. Moore, E. Gonzalez, and J.K. Brumbelow(2018). "Plant Functional Traits of Carapa guianensis, a Widespread Tropical Tree, Adapted to Local Climate Conditions at Two Elevations in Costa Rica." AGU 2018 Fall Meeting. 2018AGUFM.B53J2189F

W.D. Nguyen, L.V. Gomez, A.P Duffy, P. Knappett, G.R. Miller, J.K. Brumbelow, E.M. Prior, A. Keebler, G.W. Moore (2018). “Streamflow Responses to Runoff and Shallow Groundwater Fluctuations within Two Nested Watersheds in Costa Rica.” AGU 2018 Fall Meeting. 2018AGUFM.H23K2076N

Gomez, W.D. Nguyen, P. Knappett, A.P. Duffy, E.M. Prior, A. Keebler, G.W. Moore, J.K. Brumbelow (2018). “Measuring Mass Fluxes of Nutrients to a First-Order Stream within a Pristine Mountain Rainforest in Costa Rica.” AGU 2018 Fall Meeting. 2018AGUFM.H43C2398G