I am broadly interested in the interaction of water with vegetation, human influence on plants survival and distribution, and understanding how climate change might impact plant survival and species distribution.
When I first started in Kelly Caylor’s EcoHydrology Lab (now the WAVES Lab), I looked at this problem by studying tree roots distribution in a rainfall gradient in the Kalahari desert. For this project, we used ground penetrating radar (GPR) as a non-destructive method to map tree roots distribution. I spent many months processing the GPR data to obtain a clear 3D image of the root system. Check out some of our results HERE.
During my PhD, I looked at the influence of dew deposition on leaves and how this overlooked source of water can help relieve plant water stress in times of drought. I spent several months working in the lab, using Colocasia esculenta plants to look at the impact of dew deposition on the energy balance of hydrophobic leaves. You can read publications from this project HERE and HERE.
In addition, I am interested in various aspects of environmental policy, especially in the area of forestry and deforestation. In June 2014, I got awarded a PEI-STEP Fellowship that allowed me to spend part of my PhD looking at the survival rate of trees in reforestation projects in China. This is an ongoing project.
Lastly, I am curious about the large scale impact of both non-meteoric water and rainfall interception, and I have been using active microwave remote sensing data from the QuikSCAT satellite, as well as the brand new CYGNSS satellite constellation to look at the water content of canopies. I am really excited about other potential applications of active microwave remote sensing to probe vegetation water dynamics and always welcome new ideas!