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Welcome to the Princeton Ecohydrology Lab Website!

We've recently moved into a new site, so please let us know if you have any comments or - more likely - find any missing or dead links.

  • Dryland Ecohydrology

    Life in dryland savanna ecosystems is reliant on the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall. In order to understand the impacts of changes in rainfall on woody vegetation patterns, our group has developed a set of modeling approaches that combine existing stochastic soil water balance models with a resource trade-off hypothesis pertaining to the organization of dryland vegetation communities. This framework has provided a mathematically tractable optimization problem which we have applied to southern African savannas, the Rio Salado basin in the US southwest, and a central Kenyan ecosystem.

  • Isotope Hydrology

    Understanding the coupled interactions between hydrology and ecology requires new measurements of environmental process at the landscape level. To this end we are beginning to use stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen as a tool for partitioning land surface water vapor fluxes into evaporation and transpiration components. We have recently constructed a new eddy flux tower in Likipia, Kenya which will be outfitted with a laser-based isotope analyzer from Los Gatos Research. This instrument allows continuous δ18O and δ2H measurements (1 Hz) in water vapor. It has great potential to answer both theoretical (e.g., kinetic fractionations in soil evaporation) and practical questions (e.g., the effect of vegetation structure on evaporation/transpiration partition).

New “Campus as a Lab” project

Kelly Caylor, and Forrest Meggers, assistant professor of architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, just got selected for a new “Campus as a Lab” project. Their plan is to design and deploy a network of sensors throughout campus to understand the dynamic interplay between indoor and outdoor environments, and to use the information to improve building design.

The Innovation Fund for the Campus as a Lab is co-sponsored with the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Office of the Dean of the College, and the High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund.

See the official announcement HERE.

Article published in Remote Sensing of Environment

A new article was published by the CaylorLab in Remote Sensing of Environment. In this study, first author Stephanie Debats, along with co-authors Dee Luo, Lyndon Estes and Kelly Caylor, propose a new method to identify agricultural fields using remote sensing data and machine learning. In particular, the novel technique is capable of identifying large, commercial-scale fields as well as smallholder fields, giving a unique insight into sub-saharan agricultural patterns. Providing high-resolution maps of agricultural land cover is key to provide a critical and improved constraint for regional crop productivity and to monitor land cover change.

Arable featured in PAW

The Caylor Lab and Arable were recently featured in an article from the Princeton Alumni Weekly Magazine. As part of the cover story focused on the California drought, the article presents the work of three Princeton scientists studying water scarcity at different scales. Capable of monitoring rainfall, soil moisture and crop growth –among other variables– the Pulsepods developed by Kelly Caylor, Adam Wolf, and Ben Siegfried will help farmers make better decisions about when and how much to fertilize and irrigate, optimizing water use to achieve higher yields.

Elliot Chang’s thesis published in RCMS

Elliot Chang‘s senior thesis on a new method to remove organic contaminants from water samples for isotope analysis was featured today on the CEE department’s homepage. Indeed, Elliot’s thesis was just published in the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. Adam Wolf, Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi, and Kelly Caylor all co-authored the paper. 

You can see the post on the CEE website HERE. Congrats Elliot!


Lixin Wang’s paper in Nature and interview

Site locations of the CO2 enrichment experiments together with globally distributed climate zones based on a standard aridity index formulation (precipitation/potential evapotranspiration)
Site locations of the CO2 enrichment experiments together with globally distributed climate zones based on a standard aridity index formulation (precipitation/potential evapotranspiration)

Lixin Wang, former member of the EcoHydrology Lab, recently published an article in the journal Nature. The paper looks at how enhanced levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are a likely key driver of global dryland greening. In some regions, greening could be caused by species change, with greener invasive plants replacing indigenous ones or bushes encroaching on grasslands that are used to graze cattle, Lixin said.

You can see the whole interview HERE and the original article HERE.