|The Botanic Garden
of Smith College
|Engineering 315: Ecohydrology, Andrew J. Guswa|
Spring 2008 and Fall 2009
The Botanic Garden
served as a laboratory/field site for this course on the measurement and modeling of hydrologic
processes and their interplay with ecosystems. Students learned about plant adaptations to water
and light through a self-guided activity at the Plant House; a lecture by Botanic Garden Director
Michael Marcotrigiano, and a tour by Conservatory Manager Rob Nicholson, and a
demonstration on root structures.
Students returned to observe plants from water-limited
ecosystems and water-rich environments. Students downloaded and analyzed data from a sap
flux sensor (developed in a prior study by Katie Travis '08 and installed on the olive tree in the
Conservatory) on plant water uptake, based on the science of heat transfer to infer the velocity of
water in the xylem. Supplemental course funds were used for equipment.