Listen to the Functional Ecology podcast interview on temporal niches.
Accepting new Master's students for Fall '15. Click on "For Graduate Students" for potential projects.
Our most recent publication: Woods, S.R., Archer, S.R., Schwinning, S. 2014. Seedling responses to water pulses in shrubs with contrasting histories of grassland encroachment. PLOS ONE 9: e87278. pdf

The Ecohydrology Lab

Ecohydrology is the integrated study of ecological and hydrological processes. For terrestrial plants, the availability of water in the environment is of supreme importance for growth, reproduction and survival. In turn, plant density and species composition affect hydrological processes, including the partitioing of annual precipitation into evapotranspiration, runoff and deep drainage.

The Ecohydrology Lab examines the dynamics of plant populations viewed through the lens of plant water use, competition and variability over time. Within this general scope, there are many specific research questions that are of interest to us, for example:

  • How much water do woody plants growing on shallow soils take up from porous rock layers below the soil? Which traits facilitate water uptake from rock?
  • What is the influence of rainfall variation and soil depth on seedling growth and survival? How do these processes affect vegetation dynamics?
  • Can invasive grasses be controlled by managing the timing of grassland fires with respect to rainfall patterns?
  • What environmental and biological factors predispose trees to dying during extreme drought?

Reseach methods span the gamut from field research, controlled experiments in greenhouse settings and mathematical modeling. Currently, we conduct field research in central Texas near San Marcos and in the Mojave Desert, California, near Las Vegas. Students seeking to join the lab should contact the lab director Dr. Susan Schwinning. Follow the links above "For Graduate Students" and "For Undergraduate Students" for more information.

Office: 312 Supple
Phone: (512) 245-3753
Fax: (512) 245-8713
Mailing Address:
Susan Schwinning
601 University Drive
312 Supple Science Bldg
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX 78666, USA