At the Catchment and Eco-hydrology (CAT) research group, our efforts are geared towards a holistic understanding of intrinsically coupled hydrological and human systems. We target a better understanding of eco-hydrological processes controlling global hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, vegetation and sediment dynamics, pollutant removal, and ecosystem resilience. We rely on our competence in hydrology, geochemistry, sedimentology and environmental systems engineering.
MAIN EXPERTISE FIELDS
- Isotope hydrology: water age dating.
- Eco-hydrology: modelling and monitoring of plant-environment interactions, experimental biophysics from micro-scale to whole plant scale.
- Fine sediment fluxes, sources, composition and dynamics.
- Environmental geochemistry: origin and dynamics of trace elements in the critical zone from pristine to contaminated catchments.
- Pedology, geochemistry, geophysics: physico-chemical characterisation and evolution of regoliths, regolith-tree geochemical interactions.
Our research activities are wired around two main questions:
- How do eco-hydrosystems collect, store, mix and release water, solutes and matter – in the past, at present and in the future?
- How do eco-hydrosystems interact with the atmosphere and respond to a changing climate?
More specifically, we rely on our long-term eco-hydrological monitoring program in the Weierbach experimental catchment for investigating fundamental questions:
- How is diverse forest vegetation modifying nutrient and element cycles in the critical zone?
- How are spatio-temporal patterns of vegetation water use and water sources controlled on homogenous soils, and how do these processes impact catchment runoff?
- How do different streamflow generation processes combine to overall catchment response?
We complement the experimental process insights gained within the Weierbach catchment by conceptual and physically based hydrological models to decipher streamflow geographic sources and catchment travel times under a non-stationary climate.
We leverage our eco-hydrological research for supporting public and private stakeholders by:
- Developing new environmental monitoring tools – operating at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales (e.g., targeting flashflood mechanistics).
- Improving strategies for monitoring, forecasting and predicting our water futures, as expressed through floods, drinking water availability and quality, water for agriculture, etc.
- Mechanistic understanding of fundamental river basin functions of water, solutes and matter storage, mixing and release.
- Field deployable devices for monitoring eco-hydrological processes at unprecedented temporal resolution.
- Lab experimental setups for answering specific questions on plant functioning and plant-environment interactions.
- Documentation of river basin response to variability/change in boundary conditions.
- Training of experts with interdisciplinary skills for tackling increasingly complex questions in environmental systems and resources management.
- Isotope hydrology lab: cryogenic extraction of water from soil or plant samples, laser spectrometers for O and H stable isotope analysis in water, water dating.
- Geochemistry lab: environmental samples mineralization and preparation in clean atmosphere for trace metal concentration and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic ratio quantifications.
- Environmental biophysics lab: sensor development and experimental setups to investigate leaf gas and energy exchange, plant water transport, shoot and root gas and nutrient exchange; confocal laser scanning microscope to measure and image micro-structures on and in plant leaves, twigs and roots under controlled humidity.
- Suspended sediment monitoring: turbidimeters, laboratory and field laser diffraction particle size analysers, sediment sampling devices, UV-VIS spectrometer probes and underwater camera.
- Saturated areas through the lens: 2. Spatio-temporal variability of streamflow generation and its relationship with surface saturation, Antonelli, M., Glaser, B., Teuling, A.J., Klaus, J., Pfister, L. (2020). Hydrological Processes 34, 1333-1349.
- Saturated areas through the lens: 1. Spatio-temporal variability of surface saturation documented through Thermal Infrared imagery, Antonelli, M., Glaser, B., Teuling, A.J., Klaus, J., Pfister, L. (2020). Hydrological Processes 34, 1310-1332.
- Organizing principles for vegetation dynamics, Franklin, O., Harrison, S.P., Dewar, R., …, Schymanski, S., et al. (2020). Nature Plants 6, 444–453.
- Multimodal water age distributions and the challenge of complex hydrological landscapes, Rodriguez, N.B., Benettin, P., Klaus, J. (2020). Hydrological Processes 34, 2707-2724.
- Freshwater pearl mussels from northern Sweden serve as long-term, high-resolution stream water isotope recorders, Schöne, B. R., Meret, A. E., Baier, S. M., Fiebig, J., Esper, J., McDonnell, J., and Pfister, L. (2020). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24, 673–696.
- Multi-tracer analysis to estimate the historical evolution of pollution in riverbed sediment of subtropical watershed, the lower course of the Piracicaba River, São Paulo, Brazil, Tomazini da Conceiçãoa F., Fernandes A.M., Lupinacci C.M., Menegário A.A., Hissler C., Moruzzi R.B. (2020). Science of the Total Environment, 743, 140730.
- Catchment travel times from composite StorAge Selection functions representing the superposition of streamflow generation processes, Rodriguez, N.B., Klaus, J. (2019). Water Resources Research, 55, 9292-9314.
- How meaningful are plot scale observations and simulations of preferential flow for catchment models?, Glaser, B., Hopp, L., Jackisch, C., Klaus, J. (2019). Vadose Zone Journal, 18, 180146.
- Assessing the Catchment Storage Function through a Dual-Storage Concept, Carrer, G., Klaus, J., Pfister, L. (2019). Water Resources Research, 55, 476–494.
- Sediment transport modelling in riverine environments: on the importance of grain-size distribution, sediment density and suspended sediment concentrations at the upstream boundary, Lepesqueur, J., Hostache, R., Martinez-Carreras, N., Montargès-Pelletier, E., Hissler, C. (2019). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 23, 3901–3915.
- A global assessment of freshwater mollusk shell oxygen isotope signatures and their relation to precipitation and stream water, Pfister, L., Grave, C., Beisel, J. N., McDonnell, J. J. (2019). Scientific Reports, 9, 4312.
- Technical note: Mapping surface saturation dynamics with thermal infrared imagery, Glaser, B., Antonelli, M., Chini, M., Pfister, L., Klaus, J. (2018). . Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22, 5987-6003.
- Inter-laboratory comparison of cryogenic water extraction systems for stable isotope analysis of soil water, Orlowski N., Breuer L., Angeli N., Boeckx P., Brumbt C., Cook C., Dubbert M., Dyckmans J., Gallagher B., Gralher B., Herbstritt B., Hervé-Fernández P., Hissler C., Koeniger P., Legout A., Macdonald C.J., Oyarzún C., Redelstein R., Seidler C., Siegwolf R., Stumpp C., Thomsen S., Weiler M., Werner C., McDonnell J.J. (2018). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22, 3619-3637.
- Freshwater pearl mussels as a stream water stable isotope recorder, Pfister L., Thielen F., Deloule E., Valle N., Lentzen E., Grave C., Beisel J.-N., McDonnell, J.J. (2018). Ecohydrology, 11.
- Genesis and evolution of regoliths: evidence from trace and major elements and Sr-Nd-Pb-U radiogenic isotopes, Moragues-Quiroga, C., Juilleret, J., Gourdol, L., Pelt, E., Perrone, T., Aubert, A., Morvan, G., Legout, A., Stille, P., Hissler, C. (2017). Catena, 149, 185-198.
- Framing and testing hypotheses in hydrology: theory and practice, Pfister, L., Kirchner, J. W. (2017). Water Resources Research, 53.
- Bedrock geology controls on catchment storage, mixing and release: a comparative analysis of 16 nested catchments, Pfister, L., Martínez-Carreras, N., Hissler, C., Klaus, J., Stewart, M. K., McDonnell, J. J. (2017). Hydrological Processes, 31.
- Technical note: An experimental set-up to measure latent and sensible heat fluxes from (artificial) plant leaves, Schymanski, S. J., Breitenstein, D., and Or, D.: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21, 3377–3400.