Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Seminar

CRITICAL ZONE ECOHYDROLOGY: PREDICTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGE presented by Praveen Kumar, Lovell Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering Program, University of Illinois

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Boelter Hall 4275

Abstract

The Critical Zone is the near-surface layer that is created by life processes from microbial scale to ecosystems, which in turn supports nearly all the terrestrial living systems. It extends from the top of the canopy to the bedrock. The biotic-abiotic links between the below- and above-ground processes determine the functional role of the critical zone. To predict and assess the impact of climate and other anthropogenic changes on the Critical Zone processes, a model that considers this zone as a continuum and captures the interactions between roots, soil moisture, nutrient uptake, and photosynthesis is developed. We attempt to address a variety of questions: How does elevated CO2 affect photosynthesis and plant water uptake? What role does hydraulic redistribution play in the below- and above-ground interactions? How do these scale when we consider interaction between multiple vegetation species, for example, between tall and understory vegetation? Results from a number of study sites and regional scale climate modeling will be presented and implications for sustainability will be discussed.

Biographic Sketch

After obtaining his Ph.D. from the Univ. of Minnesota in 1993, Professor Praveen Kumar was appointed as a research Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He has been on the Faculty of the University of Illinois since 1995. His contributions are in the area of climate-water-vegetation interactions, complex system dynamics, and hydroinformatics. He has served as the editor for Geophysical Research Letters and presently he is the Editor-in-Chief of Water Resources Research.