Welcome to the Ecohydrology Lab at UCSB!

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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.

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)
Aubrey_at_desk

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.
BiogeosciencesJournal

Field Data Collection

Geography postdoc Sara Baguskas and Ecohydrology Lab manager Janet Choate visited the Sierra field site to collect data for Sara’s work. Using the LI-COR LI-6400 Portable Photosynthesis System, they measured maximum gas exchange rates from five sets of White fir, Incense cedar, Ceanothus, and Manzanita, as well as measuring pre-dawn leaf water potential of each of these species. They also found the potential second site, near the CZO tower instrumentation.

Geography post doc Sara Baguskas and Ecohydrology Lab manager Janet Choate measure gas exchange from a manzanita

Geography post doc Sara Baguskas and Ecohydrology Lab manager Janet Choate measure gas exchange from a manzanita


To see the album

Sierra site and sampling design

In last weeks Wednesday lab meeting, geography postdoc Sara Baguskas discussed site and sampling design with our lab group. Sara is working on a project with Max Moritz and Naomi Tague to understand the effects of vegetation type conversion on ecohydrology in the southern Sierra mid-elevation forested ecosystem. The project will compare the physiological responses of different tree and shrub species to changes in seasonal moisture availability. The data collected will be used to parametrize RHESSys, to improve estimates of water fluxes from this ecosystem on seasonal timescales. Two sites will be monitored in the Southern Sierra CZO – one has been selected at Providence Creek, and the other is to be decided.

New Publication!

“BioEarth: Envisioning and developing a new regional earth system model to inform natural and agricultural resource management”. This paper describes the BioEarth initiative and highlights opportunities and challenges associated with coupling multiple stand-alone models (including RHESSys) to generate usable information for agricultural and natural resource decision-making
Access the paper

Lab meeting presentation

In last week’s Wednesday lab meeting, Katalyn Voss, a Ph.D student in the Geography Department at UCSB, presented her work on “Successful Community-Based Water Adaptation: Finding Solutions Through Coupled Human-Environment Research in Nepal”. Katalyn’s research interests include: water resource management, climate change adaptation, and science-policy communication. Her dissertation investigates community-based watershed management in high mountain regions (with a focus in the Himalaya and Andes ranges) and combines social research methods with hydrologic modeling.

Katalyn Voss at fieldwork site

Katalyn Voss at fieldwork site

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Lab meeting presentation

In our Wednesday lab meeting, Julian Glenday presented her PhD research to the group. Julia is researching the implications of hillslope vegetation, alluvial fan, and floodplain channel degradation and restoration on streamflow and groundwater. Her case-study site is a semi-arid water supply catchment in the Eastern Cape of South Africa (the Baviaanskloof). Through field monitoring and modeling, she is looking at the relative impacts of changes occurring at different landscape positions in the watershed, the buffering effects of alluvial fans and floodplains, and the combined effects of both loss of vegetation cover and incision of channels. The results of her work will be relevant to restoration planning and assessing potential benefits of restoration on groundwater and surface water supply.

Julia collecting data in a groundwater pit used to pump water supplies on the farms

Julia Glenday (Bren School, UCSB), left, and Rebecca Joubert (Rhodes University, South Africa), right, taking manual streamflow measurements of the Baviaanskloof River, South Africa