EGR 315 Ecohydrology

Department: Engineering
Faculty: Andrew J. Guswa

Spring 2008, 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.

student and instructor drilling tree in greenhouse


The visit to the greenhouses clearly had an impact on the students . . . supplementing our discussion with an ability to see, smell, and touch these plants clearly heightened student retention of this material.


Andrew J. Guswa