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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).

Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi receives Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Award

Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi just got awarded the Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Award by the Princeton Environmental Institute. The Mary and Randall Hack ’69 Award provides research funding to support Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on water and water-related topics with implications for the environment. Cynthia is planning on using the award for her project mapping dew formation in tropical forests using the QuikSCAT satellite.

See the PEI announcement HERE.

Frances O’Donnell starting as assistant professor at Auburn University

Caylor Lab alumni Frances O’Donnell will be starting this fall as an assistant professor of hydrologic engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at Auburn University.  Her position is part of the Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences (CHESS) cluster hire, which facilitates an interdisciplinary, systems approach to understanding, predicting, and reacting to changes in coupled human-earth systems across multi-scales from local to global.  She says she is looking forward to bringing the experience she gained as a postdoc at NAU in studying the eco- and sociohydrology of managed, fire-adapted forests to new challenges in the Southeast.  She is joining fellow Princeton CEE alum Lauren Beckingham on the Auburn CE faculty.

Congrats Frances!

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.