Department of Geography and
Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Changes in temperature and precipitation extremes are resulting in severe or prologned droughts, and warm droughts are predicted to become more common. These events are already contributing to increased mortality of forests, greater pressure on water resources, and stressing food production.
Our group seeks mechanistic understanding of ecosystem responses to climate dynamics that underly these important issues facing society by looking at plant ecophysiology coupled to hydrology, and specifically by looking through the lens of plant hydraulics. In our research we combine observations, development of biophysical models, data analytics such as Bayesian methods, and genomics.
Representative products: Drought-related tree mortality
Tai, X., D.S. Mackay, J.S. Sperry, P. Brooks, W.R.L. Anderegg, L.B. Flanagan, S.B. Rood, and C. Hopkinson. 2018. Distributed plant hydraulic and hydrological modeling to understand the susceptibility of riparian woodland trees to drought-induced mortality. Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2018WR022801.
Johnson, D.M., J.-C. Domec, Z.C. Berry, A.M. Schwantes, D.R. Woodruff, K.A. McCulloh, H.W. Polley, R. Wortemann, J.J. Swenson, D.S. Mackay, N.G. McDowell, and R.B. Jackson. 2018. Co-occurring woody species have diverse hydraulic strategies and mortality rates during an extreme drought. Plant, Cell and Environment, 41(3), 576-588, doi:10.1111/pce.13121.
Tai, X.., D.S. Mackay, W.R.L. Anderegg, J.S. Sperry, and P.D. Brooks. 2017. Plant hydraulics improves and topography mediates prediction of aspen mortality in southwestern U.S. New Phytologist, 213(1), 113-127. DOI: 10.111/nph.14098.
McDowell, N.G., A.P. Williams, C. Xu, W.T. Pockman, L.T. Dickman, S. Sevanto, R. Rangle, J. Limousin, J. Plaut, D.S. Mackay, J. Ogee, J.C. Domec, C.D. Allen, R.A. Fisher, X. Jiang, J.D. Muss, D.D. Breshears, S.A. Rauscher, and C. Koven. 2016. Multi-scale predictions of massive conifer mortaility due to chronic temperature rise. Nature Climate Change, 6, 295-300, doi:10.1038/nclimate2873.
Mackay, D.S., D.E. Roberts, B.E. Ewers, J.S. Sperry, N.G. McDowell, and W.T. Pockman. 2015. Interdependence of chronic hydraulic dysfunction and canopy processes can improve integrated models of tree response to drought. Water Resources Research, 51(8), 6156-6176, doi:10.1002/2015WR017244.
Representative products: Ecophysiological function
Pleban, J.R., D.S. Mackay, B.E. Ewers, T.L. Aston, and C. Weinig.2018. Phenotypic trait identification using a multimodel Bayesian method: a case study using photosynthesis in Brassica rapa genotypes. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, 448, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00448.
Millar, D., B.E. Ewers, D.S. Mackay, S.D. Peckham, D. Reed, and A. Sekoni. 2017. Improving ecosystem-scale modeling of evapotranspiration using ecological mechanisms that account for compensatory responses following disturbance. Water Resources Research, 53, 7853-7868, doi:10.1002/2017WR020823.
Mackay, D.S., B.E. Ewers, M.M. Loranty, E.L. Kruger, and S. Samanta. 2012. Bayesian analysis of canopy transpiration models: A test of posterior parameter means against measurements. Journal of Hydrology, 432-433, 75-83, doi: 10.1016/j.hydrol.2012.02.019.
Sulman, B.N., A.R. Desai, B.D. Cook, N. Saliendra, and D.S. Mackay, 2009. Contrasting carbon dioxide fluxes between a drying shrub wetland in northern Wisconsin, USA, and nearby forests, Biogeosciences., 6, 1115-1126.
D.S., B.E. Ewers, B.D. Cook, and K.J. Davis. 2007.
drivers of evapotranspiration in a shrub wetland and an upland
forest in northern Wisconsin, Water Resources Research,
43, W03442, doi:10.1029/2006WR005149.
Current research projects:
> Integrating plant hydraulics with climate and hydrology to understand and predict responses to climate change
> A systems analysis of plant growth promotion by the rhizosphere microbiome
(see Project web site)
> Predicting genotypic variation in growth and yield under abiotic stress through biophysical process modeling
> Improving hydrologic representation in earth systems modeling
(see Hydrologic Process Team)
Relevant education and research:
Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology, & Behavior
Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA)
Ecosystem Restoration through Interdisciplinary Exchange (ERIE)
Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI)
Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (ChEAS)
Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO)
American Carbon Program (NACP)
Web of Science ID
Google Scholar Profile