The Nepf Lab Members
(left to right) Jeff Rominger, John Kondziolka, Dieter Miere, Heidi Nepf, Erin Connor and Elizabeth Follett.
Brenda Pepe (Admin. Support) is shown below.








Erin Connor


Graduate Student

Email: econnor (at)

My project aims to better understand the physical mechanisms controlling nutrient acquisition by submerged aquatic vegetation. I am working to develop laboratory experiments which can help elucidate the impact of blade motion on the potential flux of nutrients to the blade surface. These experiments aim to clarify how the frequency and amplitude of flapping motions affect nutrient availability to submerged plants Experiments will also explore how uptake rates change when comparing unidirectional and oscillating flow conditions. The ultimate goal is to develop a predictive model for nutrient availability based on hydrodynamic flow conditions.


Elizabeth Follett


Graduate Student

Email: efinn (at)

I traveled to the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (Minneapolis, Minnesota) to investigate the sediment pattern of scour and deposition associated with a circular patch of vertical cyclinders. Although diversion slows flow inside the patch, turbulent vortices form around each solid cylinder, creating scour. A striking pattern of scour inside the patch with deposition behind was observed. For my PhD work (a collaboration with Marcelo Chamecki at Penn State), I will experimentally investigage the behavior of particles over a canopy of submerged vegetation in order to shed light on the trajectory of corn disease particles in the atmosphere.


John Kondziolka
and Dieter Miere*



Graduate Students

Email: kondzi (at)
*Dieter Miere has returned to teach and finish his doctorate at Ghent University, Belgium

We study the flow and deposition between and around patches of vegetation. As circular patches of vegetation often develop at nearby locations in a channel or wetlands, we consider the mutual interactions and feedback mechanisms that influence the flow, deposition, and ultimately the morphologic evolution of the rivers or tidal flats. Depending on the spacing between the patches, the flow between the patches may accelerate, inhibit deposition, and cause a sub-channel to form between them. Conversely, the flow between the patches may be diminished, enhance deposition, and cause the patches to merge together over time. Our research will explore the intricacies of these patterns and establish the boundaries of transition between behaviors.


Heidi Nepf


Donald and Martha Harleman Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering


Email: hmnepf (at)

Heidi Nepf's Civil and Environmental Engineering webpage

Professor Nepf's teaching includes Physical Limnology and Transport Processes in the Environment


Alejandra Ortiz


Graduate Student

Email: aleja.ortiz (at)

My research is focused on the effect of vegetation patches on turbulence generation and sediment deposition. I use a laboratory flume to simulate a fluvial environment and try to understand how patches of vegetation can change overall flow dynamics and sedimentation spatially. I am interested in how different types of vegetation affect flow dynamics and sediment distribution. So if you have a flexible plant, versus a rigid plant, does it change where sediment will build up. The retention or erosion of sediment preferentially from different areas around and within a patch of vegetation can influence different aspects of the river's ecosystem and physical characteristics.


Qingjun "Judy"Yang


Graduate Student

Email: qjyang (at)
Description of research is forthcoming.