Hydrologic Exchange Along River Corridors: Its Nested Nature and Characteristic Spatial and Temporal Scales

IGI 54 Pritchatts Road
Wednesday 8 May 2019 (12:00-13:00)

If you have any questions about this seminar please email Dr. Valerie Ouellet

JGV Talk1

SPEAKER: Jesus D. Gomez-Velez, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University

Mechanistic understanding of watershed and river corridor processes is critical for modeling and prediction and to sustainably manage water resources under present and future socio-economic and climatic conditions. Just like a nest of Russian matryoshka dolls, hydrologic systems are characterized by structures that are buried within one another. As we unpack smaller dolls, we find commonalities but also important differences that set aside each scale. For more than half-a-century, starting with Hubbert’s and Tóth’s seminal works, we have conceptualized hydrologic systems as a collection of nested flow paths ranging from small-scale circulation underneath river bedforms to large regional groundwater flow. This nesting has significant implications for flow, storage, and transformations within hydrologic systems, and therefore it is fundamental to transfer information across scales appropriately. In this talk, I explore the role of nesting in river corridors and investigate how nesting of flow paths influences critical reactions controlling water quality due to increasing contact time with geochemically and microbially active sediments in hyporheic zones, floodplain areas, and ponds and lakes. I focus on our ability to use local scale understanding to propose up-scale models that can be used for predictions along river networks over continental scales. Parsimonious models that take advantage of this understanding will play a vital role in the design, implementation, and evaluation of sustainable management practices that target both water quantity and quality at the scale of the nation.

Biographical sketch

Jesus Gomez-Velez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the National University of Colombia at Medellin and M.S. degrees in Hydrology and Applied Mathematics from New Mexico Tech. He also received his Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science from New Mexico Tech in 2013. From 2013 to 2015 he worked as a National Research Program postdoctoral fellow at the USGS in Reston, VA.

Jesus’ research combines numerical modeling, data mining and assimilation, and field and laboratory observations to gain a deeper understanding of how water, solutes, and energy move through landscapes and river systems and the implications of these transport processes for humans and ecosystems. Currently, most of his work focuses on the interactions between surface water and groundwater at multiple spatial and temporal scales, ranging from small river bedforms and reaches to continents.