I-WATER Core Curriculum

I-WATER will develop a core curriculum that takes an earth system science perspective to address multidisciplinary problems in each research theme with hydrology as an integrative element. I-WATER will develop a new core course in each research theme. I-WATER scholars will be required to enroll in 2 core courses to be taken during the first two years of the program.


ATS 680 Land Atmosphere Interactions

This course will consider processes and phenomena of the exchanges of energy, water, momentum, and carbon between the atmosphere, soil, and vegetation which determine the climate of the land surface and profoundly affect atmospheric energetics and circulation. We’ll consider the surface energy balance and the processes that control its partition, and the fate of precipitated water on and in the land surface. Surface layer turbulence and fluxes will be presented in the context of atmospheric boundary-layer processes. Plant and canopy structure and physiology will be considered from both biological and physical points of view. Ecosystem dynamics including disturbance, succession, and responses to climate change. We’ll examine land-surface parameterization in climate models, including urban-suburban landscapes, seasonal-to-interannual variability and long term coupled climate change.

CIVE 680A3 Quantitative Eco-hydrology

The overarching objective of this course is to investigate the interactions between physical hydrological processes and ecosystem processes, focusing on soil moisture dynamics and vegetation interactions. The evolution of terrestrial ecosystems depends on the need of vegetation for inputs of light, water, and nutrients. These inputs are variable in time and space, and their assimilation depends on vegetation characteristics and ecosystem structure. Therefore, the course will emphasize the dynamics of soil moisture and water-vegetation interactions, as vegetation is both cause and effect of the space-time dynamics of soil water and climate.

CIVE680A4 Water and Environmental Integrated Research

This course focuses on communication across disciplinary boundaries; integration and synthesis; scaling and fluctuations in fluid/environmental dynamics; geometric, dynamic and statistical invariance in hydrologic, atmospheric, and biological systems; complexity, fractals, and scaling; and exploratory space-time data analysis, emphasizing methods of data analysis and visualization.


BZ 680 / GEOL 680 Scientific and Social Challenges to Achieving Freshwater Sustainability

The goal of the course is to garner a deep understanding of the ecohydrologic principles that govern freshwater ecosystem structure and function, and how human management and exploitation of freshwaters poses challenges for riverine resilience in the face of rapid global (climate) change. A key theme will be the science-based management of riverine ecosystems using the emerging scientific-social framework of environmental flows. We will explore in some depth the underlying hydro-geomorphic context of riverine ecology; techniques and assumptions of of assessing riverine health and resilience; the legal, regulatory and governance contexts in which water is managed; key concepts of social-ecological systems analysis; and how science can guide adaptation under climate change. The course will consist of foundational lectures by the instructors and expert guest lecturers, and student participation through leading of structured discussion topics and small team projects.

Organizing Concept

The primary mission of I-WATER is to prepare Ph.D. students to work in an interdisciplinary team-based activity. Our research themes involve interacting teams of hydrologists, meteorologists, ecologists, and management experts. I-WATER features problem-focused research to bridge basic and applied science by combining fundamental research on scientific problems with application of scientific knowledge to actual resource issues.

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