Navigate / search

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).

Anticipating the ecological impacts of agricultural adaptation to climate change

Global change research in the fields of ecology and conservation biology primarily focuses on how changing climatic variables will directly impact species and ecosystems. Less attention is paid to understanding the potential impacts of human adaptation, even though history suggests these might be larger and more rapid than the more gradual effects of changing temperature and precipitation regimes. A recent paper in Conservation Biology by Lyndon and collaborators at Princeton (Michael Oppenheimer, David Wilcove, and Jonathan Green in the Woodrow Wilson School) and several other institutions provides an initial method for anticipating where agricultural land use shifts due to climate change are most likely to happen.  The approach is based on quantifying the agricultural utility of land, which is strongly correlated with the likelihood that it be converted to farmland, and how this value is altered by climate change. Applying this measure to areas of conservation interest provides a framework for understanding how the pressure to transform these lands to agricultural uses might change under future climates.  This method can be readily incorporated into existing conservation planning frameworks.  The paper is available for download at the journal’s website, and more detailed summaries are available here and here.

National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) Workshop

In December 2013, Stephanie Debats and Drew Gower attended the first meeting of an 18-month modeling workshop series through the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, Maryland. The workshop series is entitled “Towards Socio-Hydrologic Synthesis: Modeling the Co-Evolutionary Dynamics of Coupled Human, Water, & Ecological Systems”.

Read more

First International Workshop on Advances in Observations, Models and Measurements Techniques of Atmospheric Water Vapor Isotopes

Cynthia Gerlein gave a presentation at the First International Workshop on Advances in Observations, Models and Measurements Techniques of Atmospheric Water Vapor Isotopes hosted at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) in Gif-Sur-Yvette, near Paris, from October 16th to October 18th 2013. Her talk presented the first results of her project on rain-vapor equilibrium in Central Kenya.

Read more

Adam’s interview by the Center for Data Innovation

Adam presented a talk to Strata NYC next week.  His abstract was noticed by  Travis Korte, a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, who asked Adam for an interview on the PULSE Lab.

The Center for Data Innovation‘s  interest is in helping government agencies realize the interest of having data policy to push innovation and assisting them in shaping pragmatic public policies designed to enable data-driven innovation in the public and private sector.

Visit by Dr. Thomas Fuchs, JPL machine learning expert

We had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Thomas Fuchs from the Jet Propulsion Lab on October 2nd and 3rd. Dr. Fuchs is a machine learning expert who develops classification algorithms (using approximate bayesian computation, random forests, and other techniques) that are used to detect cancerous cells, to classify astronomical features, and to help guide JPL’s Mars Rovers (among other applications).

Read more