The science of water is Hydrology. Water is our lifeblood, the circulatory system of or bodies, our food, our Earth.
The interconnections between water and ecosystems or organisms is captured by the science of Ecohydrology. Ecohydrology, at its deepest levels, encapsulates three paradoxes —
- Where and When:
- Life on Earth requires water to be held in extraordinarily specific places and used at extraordinarily specific times.
- The functions of Earth and of all its life require the inexorable, continuous movement and cycling of water.
- How, How Much, and For Whom:
- The existence and cycling of water on Earth are driven precisely by imbalances in water form or abundance between adjacent locations.
- Spatiotemporal imbalances and continual cycling impose inescapable inequity in the natural availability of water as the most basic resource required by all Earth’s ecosystems, human life, and civilizations.
- Species Range and Resilience given Limited Thermal and Hydraulic Physiological Tools:
- Life on Earth, including humans, is most often optimal at moderately-high moisture availabilities and temperatures. and Organisms within a species, including Homo sapiens, typically have fairly few inherent physiological mechanisms for tolerating sub-optimal or extreme moisture and temperature conditions.
- Subpopulations within species, especially plants but including Homo sapiens and others, have very successfully radiated to be resilient among widely distinct environments on Earth while maintaining relatively narrow interspecific types and ranges of thermal and hydraulic functions and architectures.
Dr. Moffett’s research wrestles at the nexus of these three paradoxes.
Example overarching research questions pursued by the WSU Ecohydrology Research Group are:
How do spatial and temporal variations in water flows relate to the structure, function, and stability of plant organisms, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the human environment?
How can humans exert control on the environment to simultaneously maximize intra-human environmental and resource equity, minimize harm (externalized costs) to the non-human biotic and abiotic environment, and optimize long-term adaptive resilience?
What thermal or hydraulic limits are organisms beginning to face with local microclimate or global climate warming, and how resilient might we expect or hope those organisms, including Homo sapiens, to be?
We currently pursue answers to such questions in four major study areas/environments:
- Urban Ecohydrology, the Urban Water Cycle, and Urban Environmental Equity
- Ecohydrology of Forest Disturbance and Recovery from Wildfire and Climate Impacts
- Ecohydrology of River and Wetland Systems, including Salt Marshes, Tidal Rivers, Deltaic Ecogeomorphology
- Basic research on hydraulics and thermal dynamics of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, environmental biophysics, remote sensing, and methodological developments.
We use field studies, numerical modeling, remote sensing analysis, and laboratory experimentation to answer compelling and important research questions from plant and pore to planetary scales. We are always open to new and exciting ideas, collaborations, and methods.
UNDERGRADUATE, GRADUATE, POST-DOCTORAL, OR TECHNICAN/TEMPORARY PROSPECTIVE GROUP MEMBERS OR COLLABORATORS ARE PARTICULARLY SOUGHT — WHO WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROUP THEIR UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS AND DIVERSE, ENGAGING, INNOVATIVE PERSPECTIVES, SUCH AS FROM UNDERREPRESENTED IDENTITIES, BACKGROUNDS, WAYS-OF-KNOWING, AND LIVED-EXPERIENCES — AND ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY TO OUR OPEN POSITIONS OR TO INQUIRE WITH DR. MOFFETT.
If in doubt — apply or inquire! When you do — tell us about your strengths, even if you may think they are not ‘relevant’ to ‘hard science’ — that the fault of ‘science’, not of you. Science especially needs you if you have previously been made to feel like you did not belong or your strengths are not valued. The challenging, creative business of scientific research and discovery requires — requires, needs!, must seek and include or ‘go home’ — diverse perspectives and skills, developed and shared from widely varying experiences and backgrounds. This is not optional. Will we rapidly invent or discover something totally new by doing things the same way, and from the same perspectives, that we “traditionally” have? No! The planet and societies need our best, most ground-breaking, most innovative ideas, now. This means you and your unique strengths and ideas.
Your strengths — all of them — are relevant and valued here. Let us make the space for you to bring your unique individual experience to our shared work, let us learn from your strengths — you are important, you belong, you can succeed here, and science needs you and your unique ideas — let us do the work to help you shine. We highly encourage scholars identifying with underrepresented groups or minoritized identities, individuals of diverse physical and mental abilities, genders, orientations, neurodiverse ways of thinking, non-Western ways-of-knowing, or other unique perspectives to apply to our open positions or inquire about creating other opportunities with Dr. Moffett’s research group.
The Moffett research group conducts high-impact science research drawing from diverse disciplines, scales, scopes, and methods — but we do not stop at those “technical details.” We are working to explicitly seek and incorporate ever-more diverse perspectives and creativity into our research, as well.
- On the ‘technical’ side, our interdisciplinary research draws on individuals’ experiences from variety of prior degrees and areas of study, including (but not limited to!) Hydrology and Hydrogeology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ecology and Plant Ecophysiology, Forestry and Natural Resources, Geography, Environmental Science, Climate Science, Water Resources, and Earth Sciences. A strong foundation of mathematics and quantitative natural science coursework and experience is required prior to our graduate or post-graduate research, and is encouraged to be under development concurrently with undergraduate research participation in the group.
- As a continually-evolving group of human individuals working and networking together, we currently include or have recently included individuals identifying as (but not limited to): female, male, non-binary; straight, gay, other; white, person-of-color; domestic/American, international; neurotypical, neurodiverse; traditionally-abled, mildly medically disabled, mildly mental health-disabled; single, coupled, married, unmarried, parenting, non-parent; other.
- Still, as is the case across US science and higher education, our past group diversity has not been as statistically strong as we would like — so Dr. Moffett is working actively to change that pattern. Dr. Moffett is continually working, personally, to humbly and openly learn — to act for peer-education and collective progress toward enhanced equity and inclusion on campus, in research, and in the department — and to be an anti-racist ally in growing our minds, science research, higher education, and US society out of the narrow and limiting hegemonic trap we unfortunately still mostly find ourselves in today. Dr. Moffett Invites students of solid quantitative natural science skills and of diverse life experience, individuals identifying with historically minoritized groups, or individuals of any constellation of identity who prefer not to identify with any single group at all, to inquire about the group or apply to open positions without hesitation. In addition to fostering top-tier scientific productivity, providing quality mentoring and supporting each individual’s career and life success are foremost priorities for Dr. Moffett as a research advisor.
The Moffett research group is based at Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV) in southwest Washington state, just north of the Portland, Oregon metro area. A part of the Portland, Oregon mid-sized city’s metropolitan area, Vancouver, Washington offers a wealth of cultural and recreational interests. Vancouver, Washington is located in Southwest Washington, as Portland’s sister-city across the Columbia river. Vancouver is a 15-20 minute drive from Portland (less or more depending on geography), about two hours from the Pacific coast, and about two hours from the Cascades mountains.
Recognized by Insight Into Diversity Magazine as a top college for diversity, WSUV commits to inclusive excellence by advancing equity and diversity in all that we do. Situated on 351 scenic acres, WSU Vancouver is in the homeland of the Chinookan and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. WSUV’s strategic plan includes a commitment to equity and a goal to increase the success of historically minoritized students. We also offer fellowship opportunities for students who identify as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander and women in STEM. WSUV is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourages applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with diverse physical and mental abilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and individuals who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our strategic goal of creating an equitable and inclusive community.