Skip to main content

D'Odorico, Paolo

Water controls the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems directly, as a resource for the biota, and indirectly, as a driver for abiotic processes on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, and belowground. The biota, in turn, modulate several hydrological processes and the rate of the water cycle. Here we review recent advances related to fundamental processes and feedbacks emerging from the interactions among hydrologic processes and ecosystems, with a particular focus on soil moisture dynamics and river flow. Most terrestrial vegetation interacts with hydrological processes through the soil-water balance, which is affected by soil properties, random climate drivers, and feedbacks with the biota. River flow enhances...
Land degradation in drylands is one of the major environmental issues of the 21st century particularly due to its impact on world food security and environmental quality. Climate change, shifts in vegetation composition, accelerated soil erosion processes, and disturbances have rendered these landscapes susceptible to rapid degradation that has important feedbacks on regional climate and desertification. Even though the role of hydrologic?aeolian erosion and vegetation dynamic processes in accelerating land degradation is well recognized, most studies have concentrated only on the role of one or two of these components, and not on the interactions among all three. Drawing on relevant published studies, here we review...
Woody plant encroachment is affecting vegetation composition in arid grasslands worldwide and has been associated with a number of environmental drivers and feedbacks. It has been argued that the relatively abrupt character (both in space and in time) of grassland-to-shrubland transitions observed in many drylands around the world might result from positive feedbacks in the underlying ecosystem dynamics. In the case of the Chihuahuan Desert, we show that one such feedback could emerge from interactions between vegetation and microclimate conditions. Shrub establishment modifies surface energy fluxes, causing an increase in nighttime air temperature, particularly during wintertime. The resulting change in winter...
Ring-shaped growth patterns commonly occur in resource-limited arid and semi-arid environments. The spatial distribution, geometry, and scale of vegetation growth patterns result from interactions between biotic and abiotic processes, and, in turn, affect the spatial patterns of soil moisture, sediment transport, and nutrient dynamics in aridland ecosystems. Even though grass ring patterns are observed worldwide, a comprehensive understanding of the biotic and abiotic processes that lead to the formation, growth and breakup of these rings is still lacking. Our studies on patterns of infiltration and soil properties of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) grass rings in the northern Chihuahuan desert indicate that ring...
ScienceBase brings together the best information it can find about USGS researchers and offices to show connections to publications, projects, and data. We are still working to improve this process and information is by no means complete. If you don't see everything you know is associated with you, a colleague, or your office, please be patient while we work to connect the dots. Feel free to contact sciencebase@usgs.gov.