Twitter: @Linmengmet. Website: https://menglinmet.wixsite.com/meng
Ecohydrology to me means understanding the relationship between water and vegetation at various scales and how this relationship changes under the changing environments (e.g., drought and heatwave). This includes many processes, for example the loss of water through the tiny pores in leaves. Ecohydrology integrates processes and mechanisms from soil, plants, and atmosphere together, providing a unique lens to understand land-atmosphere interaction through plants.
What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in?
I received an undergraduate degree from Shenyang Agricultural University, China, a master degree from Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China, and a PhD from Iowa State University, USA. I am currently a postdoctoral scholar at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where I am studying forest-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water, and energy in Amazonia.
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology?
I got interested in ecohydrology through studying phenology during my PhD (Check out my award essay Green with Phenology in Science). The timing when trees leaf-out or falling leaves affected the timing and magnitude of transpiration throughout the year. This phenological feedback on water cycle brought me to NGEE-Tropic project (https://ngee-tropics.lbl.gov/) last year as a postdoc at Berkeley Lab. From there, I started to look at processes associated with large-scale forest-atmosphere exchange of water in Amazonia. I am currently focusing on applying ecological and plant physiological theory to explore mechanistic process of evapotranspiration during droughts and how it responds to soil moisture and temperature stress. Check out my 2021 AGU presentation. I also run and parameterize the ELM-FATES and E3SM (the DOE land and Earth system models) to simulate water cycles of Amazon evergreen forests.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology?
New satellite data at high spatial and temporal resolutions will provide many exciting opportunities to study ecohydrological processes. For example, ECOSTRESS measure the canopy temperature heating up as the plants run out of water, to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to changing environment at a 70m spatial resolution on a daily basis. Understanding diurnal pattern of ecohydrological processes at a large scale is critical to improve models and accurately predict how ecosystem respond under future climate change.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain.
I enjoy reading many papers on ecohydrology but one of my favorites is Mechanisms linking drought, hydraulics, carbon metabolism, and vegetation mortality by Nate McDowell. This paper talks about the underlying mechanism that drives the hydraulics failure and carbon starvation, therefore provide an integrated view on the drought-induced mortality. Drought is the dominate driver on tree mortality, but drought interacts with many other factors like temperature and light in affecting trees. This paper gives me a clear view and helps me understand the complex processes that happen during the drought. And there are many processes that we don’t fully know yet.
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)?
I enjoy going for a walk, or for a hike in the nature when I am not doing research. I also run half marathons and photograph in my free time. Photography allows me to discover the beauty of world I live in and appreciate nature.