Aline Jaimes, ESE PhD Dissertation Proposal Defense

Lecture: 
No
Date: 
Fri, 2012-05-11 10:00 - 11:00
Place: 
Bioscience Bldg. Room 2.168

You are cordially invited to attend the Dissertation Proposal Defense of ESE PhD student Aline Jaimes.

"UNDERSTANDING AND SCALING PATTERNS AND CONTROLS OF LAND-ATMOSPHERE CARBON, WATER AND ENERGY EXCHANGE IN A CHIHUAHUAN DESERT SHRUBLAND USING NOVEL CYBERINFRASTRUCTURE"

ABSTRACT
Arid and semiarid ecosystems represent about 40% of the world’s land cover (Okin et al., 2009) and contain about 35% of the world’s population (Geist, 2005). Over the last century, however, arid and semiarid regions have been affected by desertification, exemplified by vegetation shifting from a grass to a shrub-dominated ecosystem (Geist, 2005; Peters et al., 2004). Although recent hypotheses suggest that, the extent of desertified landscapes will expand over the next 30 to 40 years (Seager et al., 2007), there is a relatively poor understanding of how the transition to this new system state will impact ecosystem function and feedback to other components of the Earth System such as the atmosphere. Key to addressing this challenge is i) an improved understanding of ecosystem dynamics and land-atmosphere interactions at local scales, and ii) enhanced capacities to extrapolate these dynamics to regional scales using remote sensing.
The overarching goal of this study is to enhance understanding of factors controlling land-atmosphere carbon, water, and energy exchange in a desert shrubland that represents a future desertified ecosystem state of the Chihuahuan Desert using well-established instrument standards and analytical protocols and new Cyberinfrastructure tools adapted from other scientific fields. The proposed study is associated with the environmental science subproject of UTEP’s Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence that aims to enhance CI-based end-to-end systems for environmental data collection and transmission, optimization, and discovery in an interdisciplinary educational and training environment through case-driven enquiry. Specifically, the proposed dissertation will address the following four questions:
1. How can an end-to-end Cyberinfrastructure be structured and optimized for the eddy covariance method (a well accepted method for measuring land-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water and energy)?
2. What biophysical factors control land-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water and energy in a northern Chihuahuan Desert shrubland and how do these manifest to affect annual sink/source dynamics?
3. How important are extreme events in controlling land-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water and energy?
4. Can land-atmosphere fluxes of carbon, water and energy be modeled effectively using optical remote sensing methods?
Data analysis will focus on three years of time series data collected at the USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico (2010-2012). The proposed dissertation will include a total of six chapters, including an introductory chapter (Chapter 1), chapter that address each of the four key questions outlined above - these will also be submitted for publication to peer review journals (Chapters 2-5), and a general discussion (Chapter 6). Data will be archived with the NSF funded Jornada Long Term Ecological Research program, the AMERIFLUX network, and the Spectral Network. It is expected that this dissertation will be completed in fall 2013.

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Committee

Dr. Craig E. Tweedie - Chair
Dr. Vanessa Lougheed
Dr. Vladik Kreinovich
Dr. Tom Gill
Dr. Marcy Litvak

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