For me, ecohydrology is an interdisciplinary field that explores how ecosystems interact with water. My previous research mainly focused on the carbon cycle, and further understanding of ecohydrology will help me mechanistically explain the behavior of ecosystem carbon-water coupling.
What are your undergraduate and graduate degrees in?
B.S. in Geographic Information System, School of Geosciences, Chengdu University of Technology, China; Ph.D. in Remote Sensing with a thesis entitled ‘Exploring the response of terrestrial ecosystems to drought based on multi-source remote sensing data’, School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China
How did you arrive at working in/thinking about ecohydrology?
I worked on remote sensing during my master's and first-year doctoral study. At that time, I didn't know much about some terminology, such as carbon cycle, water cycle, and ecology. When I started working on satellite solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) to explore how photosynthesis responded to drought, I found that my knowledge was insufficient to explain some of the vegetation behaviors observed by remote sensing. After several years of paper reading and research, now I have a better understanding of the interaction between ecosystems and climate change. But to present an interesting, solid science story, I still have to work harder to understand more about their interactions among ecosystems, carbon cycle, water cycle and so on. Ecohydrology is an indispensable field for me to study.
What do you see as an important emerging area of ecohydrology?
At the leaf and canopy scales, the interactions between ecosystems and the environment are relatively well understood. Large-scale investigations using remote sensing still have many uncertainties. Currently, some emerging satellite observations have the potential for studying how plant functioning and ecosystem processes vary over the course of the diurnal cycle. This is a cutting-edge research topic. Diagnosing the diurnal variations of ecosystem processes (such as photosynthesis) can provide insights into direct interactions between ecosystem processes and controlling factors, which otherwise would be obscured by aggregating the instantaneous variables to daily or seasonal scales.
Do you have a favorite ecohydrology paper? Describe/explain.
One paper from Dr. Benjamin D. Stocker (doi: 10.1111/nph.15123) attracted my attention strongly. They quantified the impacts of soil moisture on light use efficiency across biomes by separating the effect from VPD and greenness changes. Their study reveals substantial impacts of soil moisture alone that reduce GPP by up to 40% at sites located in sub-humid, semi-arid or arid regions. Their findings underline the importance of accounting for soil moisture effects on terrestrial primary productivity in addition to VPD. In subsequent studies, several researchers have disentangled the relative effects of VPD and soil moisture on vegetation productivity.
What do you do for fun (apart from ecohydrology)?
My life is very simple. Especially since the epidemic, I have spent most of time in the office and dormitory. The only fun for me is cooking. I'm good at cooking traditional Sichuan food (numbing and spicy).