Reaching Others

D. Scott Mackay

Department of Geography
State University of New York
105 Wilkeson Quadrangle
Buffalo, NY 14261 USA

Phone: +1-716-645-0477
Fax: +1-716-645-2329

dsmackay at buffalo dot edu


 GEO 561 - Ecohydrology



This course deals with hydrologic and ecological mechanisms underlying climate-soil-vegetation dynamics and land-water dynamics. The evolution of terrestrial ecosystems depends on the need of vegetation for inputs of light, water, and nutrients. These inputs are variable in time and space, and how they are assimilated depends on plant characteristics and ecosystem structure.

Thus, vegetation plays an active role as both cause and effect of the space-time dynamics of soil water and climate. Specific topics will include preferred states in spatial distribution of soil moisture, hydraulic limits to plant water use, ecological optimality, vegetation-hydrology linkages at catchment scales, carbon and nutrient cycling, and vegetation competition.

Graduate student status. Students with a background or interest in physical geography, geology, or civil & environmental engineering are particularly encouraged to take this class.

There are no exams in this class. We will run this course primarily as a seminar. For about 2/3 of the time there will lectures, and at other times each student will be given the opportunity to lead discussion. Grades will be based on a term project (paper 30%, presentation 7.5%), a mid-term paper (20%) and presentation (7.5%) on an assigned topic, leading discussion on up to two papers (20%) depending on class size and time available, and participation in discussion throughout the semester (15%). There also will be some in-class application of ecohydrologic models.

Typical Topics
1. Soil water dynamics
2. Land surface energy budgets
3. Evapotranspiration
4. Ecohydrologic optimality theory
5. Net primary production
6. Carbon and nitrogen cycling
7. Vegetation competition

© D.S. Mackay 
Last Update: April 3, 2017