Catalina Segura, Andrews Forest researcher, received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, one of the NSF’s most prestigious honors. The award, titled “Unveiling the role of catchment physiography in the hydrologic response of headwater streams,” supports Catalina’s research on the temporal-spatial variability of rainfall-runoff generation in headwater streams, including streams at the Andrews Forest. Catalina shares, “Water quality and availability are vital to society and wildlife sustainability. However, we are still not able to predict the paths that water follows from precipitation to streamflow in a river, nor how long this process takes. A deeper understanding is crucial to anticipate overall water quality and supply. This is particularly true for headwater streams because their input controls the water quantity and quality of larger freshwater systems. While it is widely recognized that the flow paths water can take depend on the available catchment storage, i.e., the size of the underground “bucket”, it is not yet possible to measure how large this storage is. This project will investigate the relationship between geology, geomorphology, and topography and storage availability, as derived from hydrologic tracers such as water stable isotopes. The work will enhance societal ability to adapt and ensure sustainable supply of clean water under modified hydrologic conditions, likely to occur as consequences of human activities (forest harvesting, urbanization) and climate change.”
Catalina plans to conduct much of her research at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, in western Oregon. The LTER program, says Catalina, offers “access to high-quality, long-term hydrologic data in a landscape that is still puzzling.”
In addition to her connection with the Andrews Forest LTER Program, Catalina will work with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to develop hands-on activities and to teach the general public about water availability in the context of climate change.
Catalina is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources & Management in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. https://directory.forestry.oregonstate.edu/people/segura-catalina
More on the NSF Career Awards at https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/announcements/080719.jsp