I have a broad interest in both applied and basic research topics related to watershed processes including surface water hydrology, biogeochemical cycling and fluvial geomorphology. I am particularly interested in quantifying and modeling the impacts of land use change on energy, hydrological and material cycles at the watershed scale. Most of my research has a significant field component and I extensively utilize field-based exercises in my teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
My recent research has focused on quantifying the impacts of human activities and infrastructure on the hydrological and biogeochemical processes operating in pristine and highly urbanized landscapes. In three separate whole watershed studies in Canada and South Carolina we are examining the impacts of forest harvest and post harvest silverculture practices (including fire) on the hydrology and material cycling in forested watersheds. Of particular interest to us is the post harvest response of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and methyl mercury (MeHg) in runoff waters from clear cut watersheds. In North Carolina we are examining hydrologic and water quality issues associated with urbanizing and agricultural dominated watersheds. In one long term study in the Charlotte area we are employing a geochemical sediment fingerprinting and mixing model approach in an attempt to identify temporally changing sediment source areas in a developing watershed.
In this work as well as other projects, we are actively involved in the collection, analysis and modeling of field data to provide information to society about the environmental consequences of human activities. We employ modern hydrological instrumentation, chemical analyses and geochemical isotopic techniques in a mass balance approach in conjunction with process scale studies to quantify these impacts.
My research group is actively involved in the field testing of structural and operational Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and land development regulations at the watershed scale. This aspect of our research program is designed to provide feedback to the planning and regulatory community as to the effectiveness of current land development practices and BMP employment in meeting state and local water quality objectives.