I think ecohydrology is an interdisciplinary field sitting across hydrology and ecology. It allows hydrologists, biochemists, ecologists, and geologists to work together to better understand the environmental systems and processes under Anthropocene.
What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in?
I received my bachelor's degree in Hydraulic and Hydropower Engineering from China Agricultural University (CAU). During my senior year as an undergraduate, I also received one-year training in GIS and Remote Sensing at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). Shortly after UCONN, I received a M.S. degree in Water Resources Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). I have finished two-year study for my Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and just transferred to the Penn State University (PSU) this semester.
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology?
In my master’s study, I was drawn to Dr. Ciaran Harman’s Landscape Hydrology lab, and I started my first research to understand how farmers adapt to climate change and how these altered practices coupled with climate shifts affect water quality at the watershed scale. When I presented the research at the Chesapeake Biannual Meeting, I met with my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Kimberly Van Meter. I was fascinated by her talk about the effects of nitrogen legacies on delaying the improvement of water quality. Management practices implemented by us, have significant, but quite unknown effects on the next generations. I found myself motived in ecohydrology, since I can solve real problems, and at the same time there are more unknowns remaining on the earth that are calling to me.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology?
New techniques and the availability of large volumes of data allow us to move beyond traditional ecohydrology, which has focused on data collection at single sites and the development of small-scale models. I am looking forward to using new-generation, data-driven approaches, coupled with process-based models to better understand how human perturbations affect the water quality across different.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain.
Shen, 2018 is eye opening and enlightening for me to overview and study the technical summaries, progress updates, further challenges, and limitations about the applications of Deep Learning (DL) to Hydrology. “For water sciences, DL could help tackle several major challenges, old or new”. It triggered me thinking about the direction of my own research.
Shen, C. (2018). A transdisciplinary review of deep learning research and its relevance for water resources scientists. Water Resources Research, 54(11), 8558-8593.
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)?
I like various water activities, kayaking, swimming, and paddle boarding…This summer, I learned how to surf by the Venice beach, LA. I enjoyed both riding the waves and falling into the Pacific Ocean.