The fourth lecture in the Water Institute's WaterTalks Lecture Series features Dr. Susan Hubbard, Associate Lab Director for Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Senior Scientist, Berkeley Laboratory.
Susan Hubbard's lecture is titled Geophysical approaches for quantifying watershed structure and function.
Although generally recognized that hydrological processes drive a variety of biogeochemical processes in terrestrial systems, it is difficult to quantify these interactions due to the large range of space and time scales over which these interactions occur. This presentation will describe the development of new geophysical capabilities to help bridge these scales, and the testing of new capabilities within two different terrestrial systems. The first is a relatively flat Arctic tundra ecosystem, where snowmelt-dominated, land surface water distribution and freeze-thaw processes significantly influence soil microbial activity and resulting production of greenhouse gasses. The second is a mountainous watershed in the Upper Colorado River Basin, where hydrological perturbations alter the cycling of carbon, nutrients and contaminants.
We describe two new capabilities developed to improve understanding of hydrology driven biogeochemistry across scales and compartments. The first is a sensing system that coincidentally monitors above-and-ground processes. The approach takes advantage of autonomous data acquisition approaches using platforms such as unmanned aerial vehicles, tram-based sensors, and electrical resistivity tomography. The second is the identification of watershed functional zones, which are regions in the landscape that have unique distributions of properties that influence biogeochemical cycling. The new approaches hold value for documenting how hydrological perturbations drive biogeochemical transformations across a range of critical scales.
About Susan Hubbard
As the Associate Lab Director for Earth & Environmental Sciences at Berkeley Laboratory, Dr. Hubbard leads a premier group that has a significant research portfolio in climate science, terrestrial ecosystem science, environmental and biological system science, fundamental geoscience, and subsurface energy resources. Research within this area of Berkeley Lab is tackling some of the most pressing environmental and subsurface energy challenges of the 21st Century.
Susan Hubbard earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, an MS in Geophysics at Virginia Tech, and a BS in Geological Sciences at UC Santa Barbara. Prior to joining Berkeley Lab, she was a geologist at the US Geological Survey and a geophysicist in industry. Her research focuses on quantifying how terrestrial environments function, with a particular emphasis on the development and use of geophysical approaches to provide new insights about processes relevant to contaminant remediation, carbon cycling, water resources, and subsurface energy systems. She leads the Genomes-to-Watershed Scientific Focus Area and several other large team projects.
For those unable to attend the lecture in person, it will also be available via livestream during and after the lecture.