Ph.D. student opportunity… assistantship in Hydrology and Biogeochemistry at Virginia Tech

We just circulated the following ad for a new Ph.D. student opportunity…

Graduate Research Assistantship in

 Hydrology and Biogeochemistry

Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

The Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech is seeking applicants for a PhD-level graduate research assistantship with an expected start date of fall of 2014.

This interdisciplinary research project is focused on simultaneously quantifying soil and hydrologic controls on nitrogen cycling and transport on forested hillslopes. The project will combine field and laboratory experiments with transport modeling in order to evaluate processes controlling nitrate export.

Research assistantships include a full tuition waiver, benefits, and a competitive annual stipend including summer support (~$23,000).  For more information on the graduate program in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech, please visit:

Interested students should contact:

Dr. Brian D. Strahm
Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
228 Cheatham Hall (0324)
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA  24061

Dr. Kevin J. McGuire
Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
210 Cheatham Hall (0444)
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA  24061

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Posted in Assistantships

New paper on the hydropedology of Hubbard Brook

GeodermaA new paper was accepted this week in the journal Geoderma.  The paper shows how spatial patterns of soil development reflect the influence of transient groundwater within the soil profile in nearly all landscape positions throughout a headwater catchment at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.  This study was initiated by Patricia Brousseau’s REU project in 2008.  A new conceptual model for soils at Hubbard Brook was proposed and used to discuss the implications for carbon distribution, export, and retention. Support for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation.

Bailey, S.W., Brousseau, P.A., McGuire, K.J., Ross, D.S. 2014. Influence of landscape position and transient water table on soil development and carbon distribution in a steep, headwater catchment, Geoderma,

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Posted in Lab news, Research paper

“Where does the water go?” makes an appearance on this week’s VA Water Radio

The Water Center’s weekly radio spot, Virginia Water Radio, did a story this week on “the mysteries of hydrology.”  In the background is the song by Kris Brown, J.P. Gannon, and Paolo Benettin.  Who would have thought that “macropores” would get air play on our public radio?  Thanks Alan!

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Posted in Lab news

Commentary on US-Japan Joint Seminar

A short paper summarizing the US-Japan Joint Seminar that we held last March was accepted for publication in Hydrological Processes.  The paper describes the intent and outcomes of the workshop, which focused on linkages between hydrology and biogeochemistry in forested catchments with an emphasis on climatic and environmental change.  The seminar last March spawned several synthesis efforts, one of which was presented this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.  That presentation focused on hydrologic recovery after forest disturbance and there is a parallel analysis examining nitrate response after forest disturbance.  Tomoki Oda, Mark Green, and Todd Scanlon are leading those projects.

We want to thank all contributors to the workshop, especially the speakers, students, and those leading the synthesis efforts.

McGuire, K. J., Sebestyen, S. D., Ohte, N. Elliott, E. M., Gomi, T., Green, M. B., McGlynn, B. L., Tokuchi, N., accepted, Merging perspectives in the catchment sciences: the US-Japan joint seminar on catchment hydrology and forest biogeochemistry, Hydrological Processes, doi:10.1002/hyp.10129.

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Posted in Commentary, Meetings, News

Presentations by our group at AGU in San Francisco!

If you will be in San Francisco for AGU next week, be sure to check out some of the presentations by or involving those in our group.


H11D-1178 Comparison of methods for determining the hydrologic recovery time after forest disturbance. 8:00am Moscone West Hall A-C; Tomoki Oda, Mark Green, Nobuhito Ohte, Rieko Urakawa, Izuki Endo, Todd Scanlon, Stephen Sebestyen, Kevin McGuire, Masanori Katsuyama, Karibu Fukuzawa, Chritina Tague, Marino Hiraoka, Keitaro Fukushima, Thomas Giambelluca


H31M-04 The inextricable link between hillslope scale hydrologic flow paths and soil morphology. 8:55am Moscone West 3020; J.P. Gannon, Kevin McGuire, Scott Bailey

H32D-06 Potential of pore water stable isotopes for optimization of soil physical parameters and predicting flow and transport in the unsaturated zone. 11:40am Moscone West 3020; Matthias Sprenger, Markus Weiler


H41D-1254 Coupling Hydro-chemical models and water quality datasets: signatures of mixing patterns and non-stationary travel time distributions. 8:00am Moscone South Hall A-C; Paolo Benettin, Gianluca Botter, Andrea Rinaldo


H53F-1478 Age mixing and travel time distributions: from convection-dispersion models to catchment scales. 1:40pm Moscone South Hall A-C; Gianluca Botter, Paolo Benettin, Andrea Rinaldo

Posted in Lab news

Where does the water go?

Hydrology isn’t always fun and games, but in this case it is.

The watershed hydrology lab at Virginia Tech and the WC (Virginia Water Resources Research Center) bring you “Where does the water go?”.

We wrote and rehearsed this song roughly 2 hours before performing, so hang in there on some of the missteps and enjoy the ride!

Where does the water go? from JP Gannon on Vimeo.

-J.P., Kris, and Paolo

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Kris Brown published his first journal paper: sediment delivery from forest roads at stream crossings

FEMKris Brown had his first journal article accepted this week in Forest Ecology and Management.  Congrats Kris!!

Abstract: Forest road stream crossing approaches, or the section of road immediately adjacent to the stream crossing, represent primary sources and nearly direct pathways for sediment delivery to stream channels. This research quantified sediment delivery rates associated with reopening abandoned legacy road stream crossing approaches and evaluated the effectiveness of gravel surfacing of the entire running surface in reducing sediment delivery at stream crossings in the Virginia Piedmont. Sediment delivery rates from five regraded (bare) legacy road approaches were compared to those from four completely graveled road approaches. Repeated measurements of road derived sediment trapped by silt fences were used to quantify sediment delivery rates from the road approaches for one year (Aug. 5, 2011–Aug. 5, 2012). Annual sediment delivery rates from the bare approaches were 7.5 times higher than those of the gravel approaches. Sediment delivery rates ranged from 34 to 287 Mg/ha/y for the bare approaches and from 10 to 16 Mg/ha/y for the graveled approaches. The highest sediment delivery rates were associated inadequate road surface cover and insufficient water control structures. These findings show that reopened legacy roads and associated stream crossing approaches can deliver significant quantities of sediment if roads are not adequately closed or maintained and that corrective best management practices (BMPs), such as gravel and appropriate spacing of water control structures, can reduce sediment delivery to streams.

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Posted in Lab news, Research paper

Meeting in Blacksburg

Reblog (US-Japan Joint Seminar on Catchment Hydrology and Forest Biogeochemistry):  A small group of attendees from the March US-Japan Joint Seminar are meeting next week in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The goal is to work on several synthesis efforts that developed from the meeting. More to come soon…

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Posted in Lab news, ReBlog

Seeking Assistant Professor in Ecohydrological Modeling and Informatics

Our department is seeking applicants for a 9-month, tenure-track, research and teaching position in Ecohydrological Modeling and Informatics with emphasis in forested landscapes. This position is part of a cluster hire of seven new faculty in water resources across campus. This position will focus on integration and feedbacks among hydrology, ecosystem processes, and human decision-making using modeling and information technology.

The position announcement is available here.

If you’re interested please feel free to contact me or the search committee chair.

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Posted in Jobs

Article on U.S. watershed stress

Sectoral contributions to surface water stress in the coterminous United States
K Averyt et al. 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 035046

This article seems to be receiving a fair bit of hype.  Sandra Postel blogs about the paper on National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative and the American Water Resources Association has posted about it as well.  What I find interesting is that water stress associated with cooling water extraction for power plants shows up in the index, suggesting that a single power plant has the potential to stress water supplies at the watershed scale.  Check out the article…it’s open access!

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Posted in News, Research paper

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