For me ecohydrology means beyond love. I’ve heard this as a joke in a class or maybe it was in a couple of different courses...when the teacher was trying to motivate us and getting started to talk about fluxes...he/she asked "what is the energy that moves the world?" and suddenly he/she would say "and it's not love". I guess it’s stuck with me, since I now tell that joke just when I’m about to start talking about the movement of water and energy, and start with examples from a very systematic view of fluxes and reservoirs. So...for me, ecohydrology can be the flux of matter, water and energy from one box to another, where the boxes are the components of our ecosystem, and where we can study the fluxes with various approaches. But it’s also love for science, working together, and appreciation of diverse thinking.
What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in?
I graduated from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara as an Environmental Biotechnology Engineer. I received my masters degree in Natural Resources at the Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora and my doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in Ecohydrology and Watershed Management.
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology?
I didn’t really hear of ecohydrology until my master’s studies. The most attractive part of it was the field work. As an undergrad we did quite a lot of field work: collecting plants and fungus, observing fauna, and describing the ecosystem. But, it was not until my masters that I got to learn about all of the equipment one can have in an ecosystem to actually understand processes, and it all spread from there. We went on a trip to collect precipitation data from Mazatlan to Santiago Papasquiaro; from this I got a sense of spatial scale. By the time I got to the Papuga Lab for my PhD I had so many questions and ended up with even more! I thought I was only going to work in the desert but found much more in courses and by helping my mates with their fieldwork.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology?
I am a little biased, but I think ecohydrology of coastal systems has many opportunity areas. Usually I think about soil moisture and vapor pressure deficit as main drivers of ecosystem processes, but suddenly when working in coastal systems soil moisture is not a limiting factor. In fact, the seagrasses that I’m working with are submerged in a matrix of water so the gas exchange is happening between the plant and the water column. Land surface-atmosphere models lack a good representation of coastal ecosystems. And coastal ecosystems are so important since they connect the continents with the oceans. So, I think the community will be paying more attention to these topics in the future.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain.
It would be Charney (1975). Finally after what felt probably like 100 times of reading it, I actually understood albedo. I also understood connectivity between the land surface and the atmosphere. For me albedo is such a simple and beautiful concept.
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)?
On the weekends Chris and usually make chilaquiles. I read latino-american literature. We watch movies, visit family, hike, or try a new restaurant. We love to eat so, we cook a lot.