Research Focus Area 1: Examining the Water Cycle

Ecohydrology: Improving Utah’s capacity to monitor and understand the interaction between water and ecosystems.


Water for Utah’s people, agriculture, industry, and ecosystems has it origins as snow in our mountains. The mission of iUTAH’s Research Focus Area 1 is to improve Utah’s capacity to monitor, understand, and predict interactions between water resources and ecohydrology (interactions between water and ecosystems) that are essential to the future of human health and well-being, economic development, and natural ecosystems along the Wasatch Front. Our research explores the impacts of climate and land-use change on the water budget and water quality in watersheds from high elevation alpine and forest ecosystems through urban settings.

 

iUTAH research infrastructure centers on the 'Gradients Along Mountain to Urban Transitions' (GAMUT) sensor network. GAMUT sensors collect real-time data on weather, energy balance, snow accumulation, soil moisture, surface water flow, and surface water quality. These measurements are entered into a uniform database to strengthen collaboration between researchers statewide as each seeks to better understand the impact of these variables on the state’s water resources.

 

Guiding Research Questions

  1. What is the balance (e.g., quantity, surpluses, or deficits) between hydrological inputs (e.g., snow, rain, groundwater) and outputs (e.g., evapotranspiration, runoff)?
  2. What determines water quality along GAMUT, especially in urban settings?
  3. How will climate and/or land-use change influence availability of alpine water resources and snow pack?

 

Documents

  • Sample and Analysis Plan
    Stream Water Quality and Quantity for GAMUT Version 1.2 - May 2014

    This plan was developed by the iUTAH Water Quality Team, a subgroup of Research Focus Area 1 (Ecohydrology) in support of the GAMUT monitoring network. This work was supported by NSF EPSCoR award OIA 12-08732 to Utah State University, as part of the State of Utah Research Infrastructure Improvement Award. Any recommendations expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.