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.
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.
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).
Lyndon Estes is the co-lead author on a paper that was recently published in Nature Climate Change and is currently highlighted on the front page of the journal. The article analyzes the climate costs of different lands relative to their potential food benefits and finds that converting Africa’s wet savannas into farmland would come at a high environmental cost and fail to meet some existing standards for renewable fuels. You can read a detailed description of the article, including comments from Lyndon and some of the other authors, HERE.
Kaiyu Guan, Kelly Caylor and Adam Wolf recently published an article in Nature Geoscience and the article is currently on the front page of the journal’s website. The article investigates the decline in forest productivity associated with drought. The authors conclude that water availability exerts a first-order control on vegetation seasonality in tropical forests globally and that their proposed framework can help identify where tropical forests may be vulnerable or resilient to future hydroclimatic changes.
Kelly Caylor was on the team that worked for the past year to analyze and improve the AGU Fellows program. The results of this assessment were recently published in a comprehensive report that outlines a series of findings and recommendations for improving the Fellows program.
Kelly Caylor recently received the third place for the PulsePod at the Keller Center‘s 10th annual Innovation Forum. This event is the opportunity for University researchers to present potentially marketable discoveries. Kelly only had three minutes to convince the judges that the environmental sensing platform will indeed help empowering land managers to make better decisions about their resources. The PulsePod device is combination of hardware and software and provides in-field monitoring of crop health, microclimate, water and nutrients — information that is currently not easily available to farmers.
This year’s forum also included presentations on a new treatment for cancer, a possible solution to widespread water contamination and a type of laser that could diagnose diseases before any symptoms appear. The picture on the left shows this year’s winners (Kelly is in the middle of the second row). You can see the official announcement HERE.
This year was the tenth consecutive Innovation Forum and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has a long history of convincing innovators that their ideas are worth commercializing. See the summary of the latest CEE innovations success stories, including the PulsePod, HERE.