D. Scott Mackay, Professor
Department of Geography
and Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Changes in temperature and precipitation extremes are enhancing severe droughts, mortaility of forests and woodlands, and increasing pressure on water resources for growing food. We seek mechanistic understanding of these dynamics by looking through the lens of plant hydraulics, which describes water flow from the soil to the atmosphere through plant xylem, and is a vital pathway for nutrient, carbon, and energy exchanges. We have recently turned to genomics to help refine our mechanistic understanding of plant responses to environmental change. Our approach is to combine empiricism, mathematical models, and data analytics. One product of our research is the Terrestrial Regional Ecosystem Exchange Simulator (TREES), a biophysical model of plant hydraulics, carbon and nitrogen dynamics, and hydrology.
Tai, X.., D.S. Mackay, W.R.L. Anderegg, J.S. Sperry, and P.D. Brooks. 2016. 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.
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.
McDowell, N.G., R.A. Fisher, C. Xu, J.C. Domec, T. Holtta, D.S. Mackay, J.S. Sperry, A. Boutz, L. Dickman, N. Gehres, J.M. Limousin, A. Macalady, J. Martinez-Vilalta, M. Mencuccini, J.A. Plaut, J. Ogee, R.E. Pangle, D.P. Rasse, M.G. Ryan, S. Sevanto, R.H. Waring, A.P. Williams, E.A. Yepez, and W.T. Pockman. 2013. Tansley Review: Evaluating theories of drought-induced vegetation mortality using a multi-model-experiment framework. New Phytologist, 200, 304-321.
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.
Mackay, D.S., B.E. Ewers, M.M. Loranty, and E.L. Kruger. 2010. On the representativeness of plot size and location for scaling transpiration from trees to a stand. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 115, G02016, doi:1029/2009JG001092.
> 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
> 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