What does ecohydrology mean to you?
I see ecohydrology as understanding how ecological drivers affect the hydrological processes. Vegetation controls transportation of water in various ways particularly between different spheres and by the phase change. Understanding how vegetation interacts with various ecosystem settings including natural and urban is a center of my interest. As exploring the interdisciplinary studies, I value an opportunity to learn how people in other fields use their own thoughts and languages.
What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in?
All of my degrees are in civil and environmental engineering. I received my BS and MS (focus in hydrological remote sensing) from Hanyang University in South Korea and PhD (focus in ecohydrology of wetlands) from Syracuse University. My graduate degrees are with emphasis in ecohydrology.
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology?
While studying remote sensing during my masters, I realized understanding a role of vegetation was needed to characterize its control on water fluxes at various scales. This led me to pursue my PhD for a closer look at various ecosystems in the field. While working with my PhD advisor, David Chandler, I learned extensive experimentation and intensive observation techniques for various ecosystems including wetlands, headwater streams, and urban areas.
Working in a metropolitan area provides another perspective to my understanding in ecohydrology associated with a social context. My postdoctoral studies keep up with local contemporary environmental issues in Detroit, MI while introducing various aspects in ecohydrology to students with my advisor, Shirley Papuga. I am learning how we develop interesting ideas to innovative techniques to test a range of hypotheses in urban ecohydrology.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology?
Development of a phytoscreening tool in the urban ecosystem is critical to tracing environmental pollutants. This is particularly imperative in urban systems where the invasive monitoring is not readily available.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain.
Allen et al. (2019) gives me an insight of how stable isotopic signatures of water sources is interpreted in ecohydrological perspectives. In this paper, winter precipitation was demonstrated as a predominant source to multiple tree species by analyzing xylem water. This challenges common knowledge that signatures of plant tissues can be used as seasonal proxies. This study is published recently, but provides detailed information on how the hypotheses were tested with carefully selected figures.
Allen, S.T., Kirchner, J.W., Braun, S., Siegwolf, R.T. and Goldsmith, G.R., 2019. Seasonal origins of soil water used by trees. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 23(2), pp.1199-1210.
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)?
My biggest joy is to play with my 4-month old daughter and watch her trying to roll over. I also swim for refreshment.