To me ecohydrology means “interdisciplinary” research in the most synergistic meaning of the word – where investigating a problem or a curiosity with approaches from multiple fields results in findings that advance our understanding of the greater system. Not every study I pursue matches this ideology, sometimes the advancement is more in one field than the other, but it is a goal to strive for.
What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in?
Forestry, forestry, forestry! I have B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington, an M.S. in Forest Science from Colorado State University, and dual degree Ph.D. in Forest Engineering and Forest Science from Oregon State University. Um, yeah, I like trees (and water) and at one time I was pretty good at axe throwing.
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology?
As an undergrad, I worked in Tom Hinckley’s water relations tree physiology lab and then pursued that research area for my master’s. After my master’s, I worked in environmental consulting where I did a lot of groundwater and surface water sampling. When I decided to go back to school for my Ph.D. and was presented with ecohydrology as a research option, it was a natural fit and extension of my past experience.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology?
I feel that scaling in ecohydrology is a persistent conundrum: when, where, and why (or not) are the ecohydro interactions we observe at the plant, plot or hillslope scale important for processes at the catchment, landscape or global scales? Issues of scale in spatial-temporal data are compounded due to the highly multi-scale nature of ecologic and hydrologic processes. One can argue that all smaller scale processes are important (the small catchment scale and below is where my personal interests lie), but what needs to be included in larger scale, bi-directional models to avoid misrepresentation of either the ecology or the hydrology? Maybe this isn’t an emerging area, but it is certainly a grand challenge.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain.
Dawson and Ehleringer 1991: Streamside trees that don’t use stream water
It has is all: streams, trees, mystery, intrigue, and isotopes - all in an elegantly simple study that offers surprises and drives complex questions about the interactions among vegetation, soil moisture, groundwater and surface water. Ecohydrology well before its time. I love this paper.
Newman et al. 2006: Ecohydrology of water‐limited environments: A scientific vision
Early in my Ph.D. I felt like ecohydrology wasn’t a true discipline, but simply that the two fields weren’t reading each other’s literature. This paper provided such a clear articulation of ecohydrology as its own discipline and the grand challenges put forward really helped to guide my thinking in how ecohydrology can be greater than sum of its parts.
In terms of social-media publications, I’m a fan of The Egohydrologist on Twitter. Their tweets have higher impact factors any of your papers (or so they say).
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)?
I’m a Boulder stereo-type for outdoor recreation. I enjoy climbing, road biking, skiing and deadlifting. I’m also very happy laying on the couch with several pets and watching football. My partner and I enjoy going to the plays at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.