Welcome to the Ecohydrology Lab at UCSB!


The Tague EcoHydrology lab focuses on watershed research, addressing the feedbacks among terrestrial vegetation, surface hydrological processes, and atmospheric conditions. We use a variety of techniques to examine the impact of changes in climate and land use on ecosystem health and water resources.
Please scroll through our blog below to see what we’ve been up to!

All are welcome to attend our weekly lab meetings and take part in presentations and scientific discussions. See our Lab meeting schedule & events page for information on each week’s topic or presenter. Meetings are held in the Bren hall lab wing, room 1005.

New Publication!

RHESSys was used in a paper just published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology – “Evapotranspiration deficit controls net primary production and growth of silver fir: Implications for Circum-Mediterranean forests under forecasted warmer and drier conditions”. Dr. Tague worked with scientists at the Instituto Pirenaico de Ecologia (Pyrenian Institute of Ecology in Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain), using RHESSys to look at warming induced drought stress on NPP in the Pyrenees.

Click here to access the article

Changes in Annual NPP

Dr. Tague’s photos from the field site

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RHESSys representation at AGU 2014

Presentations and posters at the Fall AGU 2014 meeting that used RHESSys in their research:

H54D-06RHESSys-WMFire: coupling wildfire to hydrology and vegetation to project the effects of climate change on mountain watersheds.
B53E-0226Studying dissolved organic carbon export from the Penobscot Watershed in to Gulf of Maine using Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSys)
H53J-03Upscaling a catchment-scale ecohydrology model for regional-scale earth system modeling
H41D-0849Coupled Dynamic Modeling to Assess Human Impact on Watershed Hydrology
B41K-0206Assessing Phenological Controls on Carbon and Water Fluxes Using a Process-based Ecohydrological Model Incorporating Field Observations and Remote Sensing Data
H13H-1213Designing Green Stormwater Infrastructure for Hydrologic and Human Benefits: An Image Based Machine Learning Approach
H31G-0697Eco-hydrologic Modeling of Rangelands: Evaluating a New Carbon Allocation Approach and Simulating Ecosystem Response to Changing Climate and Management Conditions
H33L-07Seasonal and multi-year ecohydrologic responses to forest thinning
H41D-0850Interactions of Landowners′ Land Use Decisions with Flood and Water Quality
H43J-1093Integrated snow and hydrology modeling for climate change impact assessment in Oregon Cascades
H53E-0903Impacts of climate and land use change on future water resources in the Yadkin River Basin, North Carolina
H53E-0908Potential Hydrological Responses, and Carbon and Nitrogen Pools of a Two Distinct Watersheds to Rainfall and Brush Management
H53I-03Linking geology, climate and disturbance response in California mountain environments
GC33E-0577Integrating pH, substrate, and plant regrowth effects on soil nitrogen cycling after fire
H31G-0690Potential effects of tree-to-shrub type conversion on streamflow in California’s Sierra Nevada
H51D-0634Modeling Nitrate Exporting Patterns during Storm Events for a Semi-arid Mountain Watershed
H51D-0643Sensitivity of Hydrologic Partitioning to Snowpack Dynamics, Como Creek, CO

AGU 2014 schedule of eco-hydro lab affiliated presenters

See our lab schedule and event calendar on this site for AGU 2014 meeting presentations and posters by eco-hydro lab members and RHESSys affiliated presenters. If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve been up to, please come check out our research at the upcoming Fall AGU meeting December 15 – 19, 2014 in San Francisco. Please join us on Wednesday evening, 12/17 at 6:00, at City Beer Store for a RHESSys community happy hour.

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See our album on facebook for additional photos from AGU2013

EcoHydro Lab in the field

Members of the Tague EcoHydrology lab visited the Rattlesnake Canyon Wilderness Area, just outside of downtown Santa Barbara, to see oaks, sycamore, chaparral, and Mission Creek. Geography post-doc Sara Baguskas gave a demonstration of a pressure chamber instrument and how measurements of plant moisture stress (or plant water potential) are taken. Environmental studies PhD student Erin Hanan discussed characteristics of the chaparral vegetation and soils.

EcoHydro Lab in the field

EcoHydro Lab in the field

See more photos in the field
Rattlesnake Canyon Park
Pressure Chamber Instrument

Elizabeth Garcia final PhD defense seminar

All are welcome and encouraged to come here Elizabeth Garcia defend on Friday, Dec. 5th, in Ellison Hall room 4824.
TITLE: Ecohydrologic Modeling in Three Western U.S. Mountain Watersheds: Implications of Climate, Soil, and Carbon Cycling Interactions for Streamflow.
ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores ecohydrologic interactions in western U.S. catchments using a process-based model. My research focuses on understanding how model estimates of two key components of the hydrologic budget, evapotranspiration and streamflow, are influenced by soil and vegetation physiological characteristics in three watersheds. These watersheds are located in the Oregon Cascades, California Sierra Nevada, and Colorado Rocky Mountains. Water availability in these systems is driven on a first order by annual precipitation. The majority of their precipitation is received in the winter and their forests are generally water-limited in the summer. However, they differ in the magnitude of annual precipitation received, the fraction of winter precipitation received as snow, and their seasonal energy demands. The response of these ecosystems to inter-annual climate variation is also a function of soil storage and ecophysiological characteristics. I will present research motivated by three research questions. How do soil characteristics and climate interact to influence forest water availability? How do uncertainties in forest ecophysiology, carbon allocation strategy, and their interaction effect mature forest carbon and streamflow estimates? Finally, how do climate and carbon allocation strategy influence the rate of forest growth and streamflow recovery following a disturbance? I use a physically-based model, the Regional Hydro-Ecologic Simulation System, to address these questions. Results indicate that the influence of soil storage on evapotranspiration’s sensitivity to climate drivers varies across sites. In the Sierra Nevada and Cascades, low soil storage increases the sensitivity of annual ET to climate drivers. Evapotranspiration in Colorado, which is water-limited but has a summer monsoonal pulse, is not sensitive to changes in soil storage. Estimates of forest carbon sequestration differ significantly between three carbon allocation strategies in mature (100-300) forests. Biomass estimates for leaf and fine root pools were strongly sensitive to allocation strategy and ecophysiological characteristics in the Sierra Nevada watershed. Streamflow estimates in this drier watershed are also more sensitive to vegetation. I show that the effect of allocation strategy effects estimates of recovery in forest LAI and streamflow more than climate variability at all three sites. This research contributes to the coupled ecosystem modeling community’s understanding of key processes that influence our ability to predict water resources.

RHESSys Training Workshop

RHESSys lab manager Janet Choate conducted a two day RHESSys training workshop Nov. 12/13. In attendance were UCSB Bren PhD students Ian McCullough and Brian Kastl, UC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD student Gabrielle Boisrame, U of CO. Boulder Geography PhD student Theo Barnhart, and U of NV. Reno Geological Sciences and Engineering masters student Rowan Gaffney.