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John Van Stan: New NSF Grant to Study Tree Canopy Hydrology

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BGES)

JohnVanStan.pngDr. John Van Stan, an associate professor in the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BGES), has been awarded a five-year, $2,242,820 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the hydrology of tree canopies. The project is titled “Collaborative Research: MRA: Particulates in canopy flowpaths: A missing mass flux at the macrosystem scale” and includes collaborators Dr. Alexandra Ponette-González from the University of North Texas, Dr. Janice Brahney from Utah State University, and Dr. Ethan Gutmann from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Most precipitation falling over trees reaches the soil surface as either throughfall (water that drips through gaps and from leaves or bark) or stemflow (water that runs down stems). The physico-chemical and particulate composition of water exiting the tree canopy can be markedly different from the rainwater entering from above. Dr. Van Stan and his collaborators will study the two “hydrologic highways” of throughfall and stemflow at locations across North America, with particular interest in tracking how nutrient and pollutant particles are transported by these flows as those particles are generally “missing” from the current theory of how forests cycle elements.

Article from the Office of Research.