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Harrison Research Group News

Three new graduate students to join lab over next several months

Please join me in welcoming Sofia D’Ambrosio, Corey Ruder, and Sarah Kintner to our research group!  Sofia, Corey, and Sarah will be coming to WSU from U. Maryland, St. Olaf, and U. Wisconsin Eau Claire, respectively. Both Sofia and Corey are recent NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipients; congratulations to both on this auspicious start to graduate school!  Sofia and Corey will be working on different aspects of reservoir biogeochemistry.  Sarah will be co-advised by me and Kevan Moffett, and her thesis will focus on the hydrology and biogeochemistry of urban stormwater bioretention systems.

Congratulations Dr. Deemer!

Bridget and Francesca post defense

Bridget Deemer successfully defended her thesis, and plans to walk in this May’s Commencement ceremony. Thanks to everyone who helped make this day so successful and memorable, and thanks to Francesca for the amazing Lacamas cake, complete with internal waves!!  A recorded version of the defense talk can be accessed here, by clicking on the defense date (April 19, 2016).  You will need Windows Media Viewer to view the presentation.


Cross section of Lacamas cake showing internal wave structure

Spill has started on the Columbia River

This video was taken from a bridge crossing the Columbia River just downstream of the Dalles Dam.  Every spring and summer water is spilled over Columbia River dams to facilitate downstream passage of juvenile salmon.  This year, together with the Aquatic Ecology lab, our group is studying the impact of this spill on river chemistry and ecology, including greenhouse gas production.  Other collaborators on the same project will be examining how river management affects how people value land perceive the river and its ecosystem services.

Bridget Deemer’s Ph.D. Defense Scheduled for April 19th!

GCWBRD_MicrobeB Ph.D. candidate Bridget Deemer will present her thesis defense talk at noon on April 19 in VECS 120 andBridget_02 VECS 125 on the WSU Vancouver campus.

Her defense talk is titled: Eutrophication affects reservoir biogeochemistry: From Lacamas Lake to the global scale

The talk will be available over AMS at other WSU campuses.

Animations to accompany drought stress paper in Global Change Biology

Animations capturing how drought stress will likely change relative to existing forest drought tolerance over the coming century (Thanks to Jean Lienard for this!).  More details can be found in our forthcoming Global Change Biology paper.

WSU Press Release on Coastal Hypoxia Model

What would happen to coastal oxygen concentrations if every coastline received a similar amount of nitrogen from rivers as the Gulf of Mexico receives from the Mississippi River? Two COOLBEANS-based versions of this scenario are shown here.  For more information, see the original manuscript.

WSU has written a nice piece about our recent global hypoxia model, which can be found here.  An “Early View” version of the accepted manuscript can be found here, and a related AGU blog post can be found here.  Model code and supporting data can be downloaded here.

New research quantifies US forest vulnerability to drought stress expected with climate change

Although it is widely recognized that climate change will require a major spatial reorganization of forests, our ability to predict exactly how and where forest characteristics and distributions will change has been limited. Current efforts to predict future distribution of forested ecosystems as a function of climate include species distribution models (for fine scale predictions) and potential vegetation climate envelope models (for coarse-grained, large scale predictions). In this paper, titled U.S. Forest Response to Projected Climate-Related Stress: a Tolerance Perspective (Lienard, Harrison, and Strigul In Press at Global Change Biology), an intermediate approach is developed and applied. In this approach, we use stand-level tolerances of environmental stressors to understand forest distributions and vulnerabilities to anticipated climate change. In contrast to other existing models, this approach can be applied at a continental scale while maintaining a direct link to ecologically relevant, climate-related stressors. We demonstrate that shade, dFigure_3rought, and waterlogging tolerances of forest stands are strongly correlated with climate and edaphic conditions in the conterminous US. This discovery allows the development of a Tolerance Distribution Model (TDM), a novel quantitative tool to assess landscape level impacts of climate change. We then focus on evaluating the implications of the drought TDM. Using an ensemble of 17 climate change models to drive this TDM, we estimate that 18% of US ecosystems are vulnerable to drought-related stress over the coming century. Vulnerable areas include mostly the Midwest US and Northeast US, as well as high elevation areas of the Rocky Mountains. We also infer stress incurred by shifting climate should create an opening for the establishment of forest types not currently seen in the conterminous US.