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.

Publication: Snow and the Sierra’s

RHESSys was used in two Sierra Nevada study catchments to simulate how future warming could affect the relationship between winter snowpacks and summer low flows. The influences of groundwater storage, snowmelt, evapotranspiration rates, and precipitation phase (snow vs rain) on catchment response to warming are considered. The research was published in Hydrological Processes in the paper “Effects of changes in winter snowpacks on summer low flows: case studies in the Sierra Nevada, California, USA”

Read all about it at:
Godsey S. E., Kirchner J. W., and Tague C. L. (2014), Effects of changes in winter snowpacks on summer low flows: case studies in the Sierra Nevada, California, USA, Hydrol. Process., 28, pages 5048–5064, doi: 10.1002/hyp.9943


BHS Presentation – Challenging hydrological theory and practice

Dr. Naomi Tague was a keynote speaker at the 12th British Hydrological Society National Symposium, held September 2-4 at the University of Birmingham, England. The theme of this years symposium was Challenging hydrological theory and practice. Dr. Tague presented “Consequences of warming temperatures and shifts in precipitation regimes for snow-dominated mountain systems”. In a duo keynote address, Naomi debated with co-keynote speaker Ross Woods about what happens to forest water use as snow dominated systems transition to rain.
Visit the BHS conference website

ESA Presentation

Dr. Tague presented “Translating physiological drought into tree stress and forest response” this week at the 2014 ESA Annual Meeting in Sacramento, CA., in the session: Ecological Drought in California Forests: Linking Climate Science and Resource Management.

While at ESA she also participated in the MRI Mountain Research group’s promotion of both mountain research and individual scientists’ research by advancing ecology communication through multimedia. MRI Mtn. Research sent out the following tweets from Naomi:

On her research:
Integrate*animate*(H20+C+N)=new insights on mtns as living systems

On the Sierra field sites:
Naomi Tague works w/ magnificent needled towers of hidden water that dive deep!

What she loves about her research:
Naomi loves it when those model “failures” yield unexpected insights!

MRI Mountain Research Initiative

CZO Meeting

Dr. Naomi Tague and post-doc Ryan Bart attended the annual Southern Sierra CZO meeting in Fresno August 4-6 to discuss current research and future project development. Ryan is currently researching/modeling the effects of vegetation conversion from trees to shrubs in the rain-snow transition zone on streamflow in the Providence Creek headwater catchments.
Southern Sierra CZO

CUAHSI Conference Presentations

Dr. Naomi Tague and PhD students Kyongho Son and Xiaoli Chen attended the CUAHSI Fourth Biennial Colloquium on Hydrologic Science and Engineering – “Water Across the Critical Zone: Scaling from Local to Global Hydrology” – July 28-30, 2014, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV.

Kyongho Son presented “Effect of soil parameter uncertainty on assessing climate change projection in two small Sierra Nevada watersheds”, covering the key points: 1) Model estimates for a transient snow watershed has higher predictive uncertainty for streamflow, evapotranspiration and net primary productivity than those for a snow-dominated watershed; 2) The effect of soil parameter uncertainty is larger in the drier years and summer; and 3) Accounting for soil parameter uncertainty in modeling for climate impact analysis is necessary.
Kyongho Son’s Poster

Xiaoli Chen presented “Modeling Nitrate Exporting Patterns during Storm Events for a Semi-arid Mountain Watershed”, explaining how we downscale a daily version of the RHESSys model to an hourly version, and how we implement ”fill and spill” in RHESSys.
Xiaoli Chen’s poster

Conference Presentation

PhD student Kyongho Son presented “Strategic soil moisture and sapflux sampling design for improving ecohydrologic predictions in Sierra Critical Zone Observatory watersheds” at the Global Fair and Workshop on Long-Term Observing Systems of Mountain Social-Ecological Systems, held at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA the week of July 16-19, 2014.
Mountain Observatories: A Global Fair and Workshop

Open Science Codefest

The Open Science Codefest is a participant driven, free conference that intersects environmental science and computer programming. Earth & environmental science researchers will collaborate with computer scientists to explore problems and solutions where these disciplines intersect. Sessions include: Techniques & Technologies for Visualizing Scientific Data, Techniques for adding semantics to your metadata, Create a native R package for accessing DataOne, and Extending metadata with semantics. The conference will be held in Santa Barbara September 2-4, 2014 – register today!
Open Science Codefest

Conference Presentation

Dr. Tague recently presented “Modelling interactions among vegetation structure, function and sensitivity to climate variability and change in mountain watersheds” at the Computational Methods in Water Resources International Conference, held at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Naomi’s presentation was part of the computational ecohydrology session, which focused on issues related to enhancing our knowledge of biotic-abiotic process coupling and their scaling properties, the development of innovative numerical methods describing these interactions, and the further evolution of fully-coupled landscape models that capture the role of biota in the dynamics of hydrological and hydrodynamic processes.
Conference website

Lab member featured in Bren news

PhD student Aubrey Dugger’s work is featured in the Spring 2014 edition of Bren News (a publication of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management). Aubrey has worked with Dr. Tague for the past five years, adding new functionality to the RHESSys model for the complex modeling work she is conducting in the Santa Fe watershed, addressing optimal thinning practices to maximize water yield – and considering management under the impacts of climate change. RHESSys users will also benefit from Aubrey’s work, which capturs fine-scale processes and their aggregate effects, as it has been embedded in the model and can be used in future research.
Read the article (page 9)

RHESSys used in a new publication

RHESSys was one of the models used in this new paper to estimate hydrologic and biogeochemical responses to meteorological data sets generated both with and without bias correction. The impact models include a macroscale hydrologic model (VIC), a coupled cropping system model (VIC-CropSyst), an ecohydrological model (RHESSys), a biogenic emissions model (MEGAN), and a nutrient export model (Global-NEWS).

What is the importance of climate model bias when projecting the impacts of climate change on land surface processes?
Liu, M., Rajagopalan, K., Chung, S. H., Jiang, X., Harrison, J., Nergui, T., Guenther, A., Miller, C., Reyes, J., Tague, C., Choate, J., Salathé, E. P., Stöckle, C. O., and Adam, J. C.: , Biogeosciences, 11, 2601-2622, doi:10.5194/bg-11-2601-2014, 2014.