I was recently awarded a 1-year award from the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab’s Strategic University Research Partnership program! These grants provide up to $100,000 for cutting edge earth science research conducted by JPL scientists and their chosen collaborators at one of JPL’s 12 partnering universities.
For this project, I will be collaborating with David Thompson from JPL. We plan to combine QuikSCAT active microwave remote sensing data with the AVIRIS Next Generation data over California to advance remote sensing of tree canopy water, improving our ability to map ecophysiology, water stress, drought response, and fire risk.
I gave a talk on my current project in collaboration with Pr. Sally Thompson from UC Berkeley looking at transpiration suppression due to fog and dew. I was also very happy to learn more about some fascinating dew and fog collection projects, a topic I have thought about a lot before.
It was great to get to see old friends, like former Caylor Lab member Lixin Wang presenting his work on the use of stable isotopes to separate dew and fog water inputs for vegetation in the Namib desert, or Camille Duprat, former post-doc in the MAE department at Princeton University. In addition, I got to meet some of the most active people in the world of dew related research, like Daniel Beysens, Nurit Agam, Jürgen Burkhardt, and Simon Berkowicz.
Finally, the conference was a unique opportunity to meet young and enthusiastic scientists from all across the world, and I am thrilled for the opportunities that this new network of friends and colleagues will bring in the future!
See the conference website HERE.
See the full conference program HERE.
See the live tweets from the conference using the hashtag #FFCD2016.
PS: Can you find me on the official conference picture above?
I just receive the great news that I have been awarded one of the Mary and Randall Hack ‘69 Graduate Awards by the Princeton Environmental Institute! The Mary and Randall Hack ’69 Award provides research funding to support Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on water and water-related topics with implications for the environment.
I am planning on using the award to focus my summer research on my project using QuikSCAT data to map dew formation over tropical forests.
You can read more about my project in the official announcement HERE.
Last week, I had a great pleasure to fly down to Cuenca, Ecuador to attend the AGU Chapman conference on Emerging Issues in Tropical Ecohydrology. You can see the program for the conference HERE.
The conference gathered about 100 scientists from around the world, from New Zealand to Sweden, including India and almost every country in South America. The attendees were evenly split between faculty, post-docs and graduate students.
Many of the faculty and post-docs attending the conference were highly recognized in the field of tropical ecohydrology, and many were the authors of papers that have been the foundation and the motivation for my own work. Being able to meet so many of them all at once was a unique experience! The small size of the conference and the general organization (everybody staying in the same hotel, all meals taken together) really allowed me to have one-on-one conversations with the people I wanted to.
The lectures were all really inspiring, and the poster sessions allowed us to easily connect with one another. I made many friends during this trip, and I expect that the network that was born during the conference will be tremendously useful in the future when looking for a new position or developing new projects.
The conference field trip was an amazing way to discover the mountains of Ecuador and the paramo ecosystem. We got a guided tour by the graduate students from the University of Cuenca, who showed us their field experiments and gave us an overview of their research. The views were breathtaking, but the field trip was also a great opportunity to chat in a relaxed environment.
Finally, the topic-specific breakout sessions proved to be a great way to think about concrete projects in ecohydrology. The goal of these sessions was to write a series of discussion papers based on common interests of sub-groups of attendees. The discussions were all very stimulating, and I am expecting the three groups I am involved in to produce great papers in the very near future!
Last week, I went out to California to initiate a new collaboration with Pr. Sally Thompson at UC Berkeley. Pr. Thompson has been collecting leaf wetness data at multiple sites across California, and I will be using her dataset together with my leaf energy balance model to estimate the reduction in transpiration associated with dew and fog formation. I got the chance to visit one of the field sites, the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, located up in the hills above San Jose. See the gallery below to see some pictures of my trip!
Last week, I attended the Jupyter Days in Boston. Hosted by O’Reilly Media, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Library and the Harvard Law School Library, the event brought together over 100 iPython/Jupyter enthusiasts (and experts!) from academia and industry.
I started using Python about six months ago when I dived into remote sensing data, and I have used Jupyter notebooks on occasion, mostly for debugging code, so I was curious to see what else could be done with them! This was also my first time attending this kind of workshop, and I was excited to see what the community was like.
Many great talks were given, and you can see the list of presenters and their slides HERE. On day 1, I really enjoyed learning new tricks, like how to use Binder to turn a GitHub repo of notebooks into an executable environment, allowing the code to be reproducible by anyone. I also discovered the magical plots made with Plotly, which I am looking forward to using. Finally, one of the highlights was the very impressive Safia Abdalla, college student, CEO of dsfa and Jupyter expert. It was very inspiring to see such a young woman rock the room with both her humor and her knowledge on kernels (the thing you have to restart in your notebook every once and a while without knowing really why…). Check out her hilarious slides!
Day 2 was a bit more technical and hands-on with an extensive intro to Docker in the morning, and a few more examples of application in the afternoon. I especially enjoyed Brian Keegan’s demonstration on how to use Jupyter to analyze Wikipedia’s network!
In summary, lots of new knowledge, probably more than I will be able to process, and I’m certainly looking forward to going to a similar workshop again soon!
Elliot Chang, a senior at Princeton University who has been working in the Caylor Lab since his freshman year, just published his senior thesis in the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. The article focuses on the innovative use of solid-phase extraction (SPE) to remove organic compounds such as ethanol and methanol from water samples extracted from plants. Those organic compounds are known for causing interferences when using isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy to determine the isotopic composition of the extracted water. The article is co-authored by Kelly Caylor, Adam Wolf and myself.
One of our summer research intern made an amazing video of Mpala seen from a drone. I haven’t worked at Mpala since 2011, but this video made me really nostalgic of the beautiful landscapes and all the animals that you get to see when you work there! Browse the video to see giraffes, zebras, dromedaries, elephants, hippos, and fast forward to 1:09 to get a good look at the Caylor Lab flux tower.
Today, I officially started my visit at Harvard University. For the next year, I will be sitting in Pr. N. Michele Holbrook’s lab in the department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. I am excited to improve my plant physiology knowledge, and to get more lab experience. I will still be a full time student in the EcoHydrology Lab at Princeton University and will go to Princeton regularly throughout the year.