Berkeley Lab

Three Collaborative Watershed Seed Projects Funded

To catalyze engagement of new investigators and collaborative projects/initiatives, the Watershed Function SFA has selected three 1-year, collaborative mini-projects for funding. The applicants were selected for award from a large number of excellent and highly competitive proposals. The selected awards include:

“Developing capabilities for integration of microbiological and geochemical data processing” (Romy Chakraborty). This mini-project aims to demonstrate the value of connecting data infrastructures of Watershed SFA, ESS DIVE, and KBase for developing a breakthrough new capability to easily process and enable visualization of environmental microbiome data in the context of macro scale environmental dynamics.

“Establishing a new modeling capability for the East River watershed to study forest responses to perturbations” (Lara Kueppers). The objective of this mini-project is to develop a process-based forest ecosystem model that contributes to robust predictions of Rocky Mountain watershed responses to perturbations.

“Integrated Ecosystem Sensing for Tracking the Hydrodynamics of the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum and Impacts on Soil Respiration and Plant Growth” (Yuxin Wu). This project will utilize the unique capability built into the EcoSENSE SMART soils testbed for quantitative tracking of the moisture dynamics in a simulated hillslope system driven by both hydrological perturbations and plant/soil interactions, and the subsequent effects on ET and soil/plant respiration. Using a suite of sensors in a soil testbed, combined with direct sampling and characterization methods, the mini-project is expected to deliver comprehensive, dense and spatiotemporally correlated data sets to track system dynamics.

Steltzer Selected for AGU Science Advocacy Program

Heidi Steltzer of Fort Lewis College was selected to be among the first thirty advocates to serve in AGU’s Voices for Science Program.

“I applied and am grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this program,” says Steltzer. “The network creates the opportunity to share more about SFA program within AGU and hoping to explore more ways to share what we do in Colorado and beyond.”

Read the full story here.

SFA Research as cover story in The Durango Herald

Fort Lewis College alumni Chelsea Wilmer and Shea Wales carrying gear to a study site in the Elk Mountains near Crested Butte, joined by Elizabeth Ballor, a summer independent research student at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Patrick Sorenson, a Berkeley Lab postdoctoral researcher.

An article about Watershed Function SFA research was featured as the cover story of the weekend edition of The Durango Herald. The article features photos of students from Fort Lewis College working on the project and quotes from interviews with Ken Williams and Heidi Steltzer, including the value of the research to other watersheds such as the Animas watershed. Read the full story here.

Steefel et al. Receive R&D 100 Award for CrunchFlow

SFA researcher Carl Steefel was recognized with an R&D 100 Award for the development of CrunchFlow, a powerful software package that simulates how chemical reactions occur and change as fluids travel underground. Steefel received the award at a Nov. 17 event in Washington, D.C. along with co-developers Sergi Molins (LBL, SFA team member) and Jennifer Druhan (U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign, SFA collaborator). Read more »

Watershed Function at AGU 2017

Research from the Watershed Function SFA will be featured in approximately 25 posters, talks and convened sessions at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Click here to see a full listing of SFA-related AGU 2017 activities.

Over 80 Attendees Join 2017 SFA Retreat


Team photo from the 2017 Retreat at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, CA

Over 80 team members and collaborators attended the 2017 SFA Annual Retreat in Berkeley, CA. Read more »

“Why Study Plants?” Steltzer Featured in Colorado Newspaper

Credit: David Holub/Special to the Herald

Heidi Steltzer contributed an Op-Ed to the Durango Herald entitled “Protecting people through the science of studying plants”. In her piece, Steltzer highlights some of the insights gained by studying plants, including in mountainous watersheds. Read the full story here.

Susan Hubbard Named 2017 American Geophysical Union Fellow

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has named Susan Hubbard, Watershed Function SFA Director, as a 2017 AGU Fellow.

Every year, the AGU Fellow program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions to the Earth and space sciences. Vetted by a committee of AGU Fellows, honorees represent no more than 0.1 percent of AGU’s 60,000 members. Read more »

New Data Archive Aims to Amplify Impact of Ecosystem Research

Data collection in Rifle, CO, the former SFA study site (Photo credit: Berkeley Lab)

A new DOE project led by Deb Agarwal (lead of Watershed Function SFA Data Management and Assimilation) will develop an archive that will serve as a repository for hundreds of DOE-funded research projects under the agency’s Environmental System Science (ESS) umbrella.

The project is a $3.6 million investment by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of Science that will enable researchers, environmental and agricultural stakeholders, as well as members of the public to access the data.

Read the full story here »

Jill Banfield Named 2017 Goldschmidt Medalist

Reposted from the Berkeley Lab EESA blog

Jill Banfield, Faculty Scientist in Earth & Environmental Sciences at LBNL, Professor at UC Berkeley, and member of the SFA team, has been named 2017’s recipient of the V.M. Goldschmidt Award. This award recognizes major achievements in geochemistry or cosmochemistry. Her work focuses on geomicrobiology—natural microbial communities in the terrestrial subsurface, sediments, water, biofilms and animals. She also studies nanoparticle formation and behavior in the natural environment.

Jill will receive her award at the Goldschmidt 2017 conference in Paris, France, this August.

Read the Geochemical Society’s announcement.