Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WyCEHG Collaboration leads to deeper understanding of water transport and storage

On September 30th, California-based hydrologist and geomorphologist Daniella Rempe spoke at a Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG) meeting to share her study findings related to water storage and movement. Rempe, a University of California Berkeley PhD candidate in Department of Earth and Planetary Science, came to communicate her research but also to discuss the ways WyCEHG is helping to further that research.

“WyCEHG significantly impacts my research by providing me with the means to image the fresh bedrock-weathered bedrock boundary that defines the base of the ‘critical zone.’” says Rempe. She further describes the ‘critical zone’ as “a boundary that controls many processes that influence how water and weathered rock are distributed across a landscape.”

Daniella (Center) with Professor Steve Holbrook (Right) 
and Professor Bill Dietrich of UC Berkeley (Left) 
discussing hypotheses about the planned 
geophysical survey locations.  Photo Credit: Alex Bryk 
The WyCEHG and Rempe collaboration began this past summer when Dr. Steve Holbrook and a crew of WyCEHG members joined Rempe and researchers from UC Berkeley at the Eel River Critical Zone Observatory in the Angelo Coast Range Research in Mendocino County, California. The WyCEHG crew used a variety of imaging techniques to image the boundary between weathered and fresh bedrock under hillslopes studied by the Eel River Critical Zone Observatory researchers.

Rempe is excited about the future of her research now that her relationship with WyCEHG has been established. “Collaboration with WyCEHG researchers will allow us to collect key data needed to test and constrain models that describe the evolution of the critical zone under landscapes.”

 She’s also enthusiastic about the ways in which collaborative science can have a broader impact on society as a whole. “Advances in our understanding of the complex interactions between rock, soil, water, air and biota are expected to significantly impact how we view our changing planet and ultimately lead to better informed environmental policy decisions.”

In addition to presenting at the WyCEHG All-Hands meeting, Rempe met with WyCEHG faculty and students to discuss future collaborations, including drafting manuscripts with Steve Holbrook on the WyCEHG field work at the Eel River.

By Manasseh Franklin

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