What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in? I have a bachelor degree in Environmental Engineering, from LaSallista, a small private university in Medellín, Colombia. Currently, I’m a PhD candidate at the Jackson School of Geosciences at UT Austin. For my dissertation project I’m trying to understand how different types of ecosystem stresses affect transpiration and water availability for plants.
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology? I encountered ecohydrology for the first time in 2015 as an undergraduate student. I had the amazing opportunity to travel to the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) for a non-paid internship during that summer where I learned from numerous exceptional scientists in the field. It was very surprising for me to see what they were doing: Combining engineering skills to build and implement different sensors to measure water movement inside vegetation and scale these measurements to ecosystem levels. Before my internship, I never heard about this potential before, and the idea of applying my engineering expertise in a non-traditional area captive my full interest. After that summer, I decided that I wanted to pursue my graduate studies in this field.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology? I believe that the coupling of natural and anthropogenic processes is key for the future in our field. Efforts in urban ecohydrology, costal zones interactions, ecosystems transformation, extreme weather events, and other anthropogenic and natural stressors are important to determine the health and productivity of our ecosystems. Moreover, this knowledge could be used for decision-making regarding all the new challenges as we are facing more of the consequences of climate change.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain. It is very hard to pick just one paper when we have a lot of great work in the field; however, there is a paper from He and Silliman (2019) title ‘Climate Change, Human Impacts, and Coastal Ecosystems in the Anthropocene’ that I found very interesting and impactful for the future of our field. The authors addressed the possible interactions between climate change and local human impacts, exemplifying how these interactions might affect major coastal ecosystems. They also addressed conservation strategies that can buffer the climate change effects and identified all the possible climate change stressors for the ecosystems.
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)? I am a very social person and I very much enjoy spending time with fiends. Cooking and hosting game nights for my friends is one of my favorite things to do during the weekends. I love having people over and whenever I had the opportunity, I enjoy cooking and sharing different Colombian dishes such empanadas, arepas, and fried plantain. I have also started making my own sourdough bread – as almost everyone else during the pandemic! Cooking for my loved ones is my way to show all the appreciation I have for them.