Current Research

Ecohydrology seeks to understand the connections between vegetation and water flow/quantity on the landscape. How much water is there in the soil, whether the soil gets flooded and for how long, whether there is a flow of water for part of the year, all these can determine which plants grow at a certain area.  

At the same time, vegetation can have feedbacks upon the water cycle in various ways.  
Large amounts of water are taken up from the soil by plants and passed on to the atmosphere via transpiration, where they may condense and return to the same area as rain. In river deltas and wetlands, emergent plants can create resistance to flow of water, thereby causing greater rates of sedimentation.


The sheer variety of ecosystems on Earth and the abiotic factors that affect the water cycle (climate, soil, topography) results in diverse ways in which these interactions occur.  An understanding of the factors operating at a site is required for effective watershed management that has to achieve divergent goals of water supply, flood protection and ecosystem preservation.


So within this general framework of ecohydrology, I am focussing on understanding how different water sources and nutrient availability affects plant community and species diversity.  How different plants position themselves in niches along a spatial and temporal gradient of nutrient availability and soil moisture. And how vegetation can change their local environment to create favorable conditions conduicive to their survival. My study sites are in the Everglades of south Florida, USA and the cerrado ecosystem in the Distrito Federal, central Brazil.


A) Biocomplexity of hydrologically controlled ecosystems

Within the broad realm of the above NSF funded project, a collaboration between researchers in Miami, Brazil and Argentina, I am undertaking the following projects:
1. Water source and nutrient utilization in upland ecosystems in the Everglades National Park, Florida, USA
2. Does hydraulic lift aid nutrient aquisition in the nutrient poor cerrado ecosystem of central Brazil ?
 

B) Current Collaborations

Apart from these projects, I am also involved in other projects connected with plant ecophysiology, soil respiration and tree island modelling.

1. Physiological measurements (sapflow, water potential) in trees near and far from ant nests in southern amazon-cerrado transition forests, Mato Grosso, Brazil
2. Carbonshed isotope characterization in Colorado rockies
3. Tree island modeling


Some images from my CURRENT field sites.

matogrosso

Amazon - Cerrado transition, Mato Grosso, Brazil
capim gorduru

Exotic grass in the cerrado ecosystem, Brazil
treeisland

A treeisland, sawgrass and slough, Everglades, USA
fire adapted bark
Thick fissured bark in fireprone cerrado, Brazil
cerrado woodlands
Woodlands in the cerrado savanna, Brazil
pineland
Canopy of a Pine rockland, Everglades, USA

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