Research Summaries

Earth Research Institute

Research Summaries for the period of July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018



Ralph Archuleta; Chen Ji                                                    10/1/17-3/31/19                    $49,747


California Department of Conservation 1017-561


Strong Ground Motion from Earthquakes on Multiple Faults


InSAR image and geological surveys demonstrate that Kaikoura earthquake resulted in slip on multiple (>12) fault segments ( InSAR cannot conclusively determine that all of these segments ruptured co-seismically. We propose a two-step approach to constrain the co-seismic rupture.


We first investigate the co-seismic moment rate distribution using strong motion records with the multiple double-couple (MDC) approach discussed above. We assume each potential fault segments as one double-couple point source and invert for its seismic moment, centroid location, centroid time, and rupture duration for each fault segment using teleseismic and far-field strong motion waveforms. The results will provide the spatial moment distribution and temporal distribution of point sources.


When the causative fault segments are constrained, we conduct finite fault inversion on a fault geometry with predefined fault segments using broadband seismic data as we did for 2008 Wenchuan and 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. As the seismic data with higher frequency is included, the fault slip is refined.



Ralph Archuleta; Chen Ji                                                    9/1/12-8/31/17                    $359,859


National Science Foundation EAR-1215769


Improving Resolution of Finite Inversions With Increasing Bandwidth


This project will develop new methods of inverting observations to provide more resolved and robust estimates kinematic rupture models. Without direct measurements of the fault during an earthquake the spatio-temporal evolution of the slip on the fault must be inferred from seismic, geodetic and geologic observations. While the representation theorem provides the link between the spatio-temporal evolution and the observations, the inverse problem has been a quagmire. The number of parameters needed to infer the details of a rupture is much larger than the number of available data, i.e., the inverse problem is underdetermined. By itself that is a problem. When coupled with the fact that the temporal variables (rise time and rupture time) are not linearly related to the observations, additional complexities arise in the methods for inverting the observations. Nonetheless, models of the spatio-temporal evolution of slip, i.e., the source process, can be found. The quality of these models needs to be quantitatively assessed.


High-frequency seismic data exists but has not been fully exploited. These data provide important constraints on stress drops and variations in rupture velocity. By using these data in concert with low-frequency seismograms, GPS and InSAR, the resulting kinematic models will be better resolved and more robust. Two methods are proposed for exploiting the high-frequency data. First using back projection, areas on the fault that produce high-frequency radiation are identified. Using a multiscale inversion, the parameters are resolved on a finer scale and used as constraints on the inversion at a larger scale. Second, derivatives of the acceleration envelope function are inverted to determine regions of high-frequency radiation. These regions will also be subject to multi-scale inversion to constrain the overall inversions. In combination the two methods will improve the resolution and robustness of the inverted rupture model.



Ralph Archuleta; Chen Ji                                                    6/1/17-11/30/17                    $33,000


University of California 00009589


Modeling of Ground Motion from Intermediate-Depth Earthquakes


The current GMPEs have three source terms: magnitude, stress parameter and focal mechanism. For intraslab events, which are dominated by normal fault events, we will use magnitude, stress parameter, and nodal plane as three basic parameters. We will investigate the following three questions:

1)   In modeling the intermediate earthquakes do we need abnormal high/low stress parameter?

2)   Is there a significant radiation difference between rupture on sub-horizontal fault plane and rupture on a sub-vertical fault plane? (Up-dip directivity)

3)   Will the GMPEs show a break in scaling of PGA and PGV at some large magnitude? There are known width limitations:

  • Subducted oceanic crust ~10 km.
  • Plate unbending model: neutral plane ~ half of slab width: 15-30 km given limits on the width.
  • Slab width is strongly dependent on the age of the subducted plate: width is about 30 km for a young subduction zone like Cascadia and about 50-60 km for an old subduction zone, Japan trench. If the earthquakes occur on a reactivated outer-rise fault (~ 45o relative to slab interface), the corresponding critical widths are 14, 21-42, 42-84 km, depending on the age of the subducted slab.



Ralph Archuleta; Jorge Crempien; Toshiro Tanimoto   5/1/17-9/30/18                      $18,000


University of Southern California 94315251-D


SCEC5, 17234: Estimating Path and Source Parameters in the Southern Sierra Nevada Using a Non-Parametric Approach and Special Source Constraints


Engineering site parameters such as have not been estimated in the Southern Sierra Nevada (SSN) region. We will use a non-parametric approach (Andrews, 1986; Castro et al, 1990) to estimate simultaneously source and path parameters for the SSN region. To reduce the variability of observations, we propose to incorporate additional constraints into the method of Andrews (1986) and Castro et al. (1990) by using the ratios of ground motion spectra produced by two earthquakes whose hypocenters are close to each other and recorded at the same site. This additional constraint should eliminate the path and site conditions allowing us to isolate source effects. We will apply this new approach for the CC coastal dataset that we have already analyzed to see if we can improve on the estimates of the source parameters.


Several networks in SSN record strong ground motion with stations maintained by both Northern and Southern California Earthquake Centers (NCEC, SCEC), the USGS and the California Geological Survey (CGS). Because we will be working with a limited dataset in the Sierra Nevada, we first want to test the proposed method with datasets that are more extensive as well as datasets that include recordings in deep boreholes, in order to better estimate the site conditions. The ideal place to do such work is with arrays that are maintained by Dr. Steidl at UCSB: Hollister downhole array (HEO), Garner Valley downhole array (GVDA) and Borrego Valley downhole array (BVDA). These data are available at: Once we have estimated all parameters, we will compute stress drops, apparent stress, radiated energy, and other source related parameters.



Ralph Archuleta; Jorge Crempien; Toshiro Tanimoto   5/1/17-9/30/18                      $25,000


University of Southern California 94315331-B


SCEC5, 17247: Validation of the UCSB Multi-Segment Kinematic Rupture Ground Motion Code Against Recorded Ground Motion for Several Events


Our objective is to compute large ensembles of earthquake simulations for central California sites that are suitable for probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA). Compare the simulation results with those from ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs). Use this modeling to understand the aleatory variability encoded by the GMPEs and to assess the epistemic uncertainties in the simulation-based PSHA.




Ned Bair                                                                                 3/1/18-2/28/19                      $41,987


The Regents of the University of Colorado 1556287 (NASA Flow-through)


Optimizing the Indus Basin Irrigation System and reservoir operations using remotely sensed snow surface properties in the ParBal model


This project will use sophisticated research algorithms to create essential water variables (EWVs) for snow and glacier ice. The EWVs will be analyzed as indicators to long-term trends in the Indus River basin that spans the countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and China, presenting transboundary issues. The UCSB component of this work will focus on the implementation of the ParBal model and development of a Real-time SWE prediction model.




Kelsey Bisson; David Siegel                                                 5/15/17-6/30/19                    $50,000


National Academies Keck Futures Initiative NAKFI DB53


Project ROAM: Rendering Oceanography in Artistic Mediums


Science and art are both avatars of human examination and creativity, but only rarely are they coupled on seagoing expeditions for their mutual benefit. To this end, ROAM (Rendering Oceanography in Artistic Mediums) aims to bring four artists aboard R/V Sally Ride on a graduate student led science expedition to produce creative, artistic narratives from science at sea. By translating science experiences through art, ROAM will build empathy and wonder for our ocean and, ultimately, spark a commitment to marine stewardship. The ROAM team will include a creative writer, a videographer, an illustrator, and a musician. These individuals will collaborate with each other and with the scientists aboard to produce poetry and creative prose, illustrations, music, a short animated film, a short documentary-style video, photos, and likely many unforeseen creative endeavors that will undoubtedly transpire from this dedicated cross-disciplinary engagement. The overall goal is to leverage the strengths of art and science to motivate a love for the deep ocean across a range of communities. Following the weeklong expedition, this material will be available through numerous artistic publications, a cruise website, and an art-science installation in Santa Barbara, California. The online efforts will make the ocean more accessible to people who live far away from the ocean, creating a proximal connection despite the distance. This in turn will breed concern for ocean health, stimulate interest in the deep ocean, and perhaps inspire others to pursue a career in oceanography.



Derek Booth; Thomas Dunne                                             7/1/15-11/30/19                  $799,121


National Park Service P15AC01121


Yosemite Valley Merced River Restoration


The purpose of this project is to provide scientific and design support to Merced River restoration efforts in east Yosemite Valley being considered or implemented by the National Park Service (NPS). This work is occurring in an area of both great natural resources and intensive human activity, with complex and potentially conflicting goals articulated by the Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, issued in February 2014.


Since the initiation of this project, the work accomplished has comprised field data collection, data compilation, channel-migration modeling, in-stream project design and construction monitoring, stakeholder outreach, and preparation of a comprehensive report on scientific activities to date. As a result of this work we have developed and completed a map-based characterization of channel attributes throughout the study area, contributed to the in-progress geologic map of the valley, participated in multiple stakeholder meetings, and provided engineering design and construction oversight on two in-stream projects constructed in the valley since initiation of the project. Research questions have been framed relating to the past and future behavior of this river, given a range of potential management prescriptions for riparian areas and under potential climate-change scenarios.



Mark Buntaine                                                                      3/1/17-9/30/18                    $182,820


University of California 00009574


Citizen Monitoring of Urban Waterways in Jiangsu, China


In collaboration with UCSB, Nanjing University will design and carry out a randomized field experiment that tests whether citizen monitoring of urban pollution and the public or official dissemination of that information improves the management of urban pollution. This effort includes:


1. Baseline survey / water quality audit: We will implement baseline household surveys and water quality audits of the urban waterways in our sample prior to assigning any of the waterways to treatment. The baseline survey will assess resident attitudes about water pollution in their neighborhoods and their willingness to take action.


2. Implementation of treatments: We will assign our urban waterways to treatment conditions that include citizen monitoring or no citizen monitoring. For those waterways that are assigned to citizen monitoring we have a further experimental arm that will dissemination the monitoring information directly to government offices or release it publicly on social media platforms.


3. Endline survey / wter quality audit: We will implement the same survey and water quality audit that was take at baseline after one year, with the goal of being able to identify any changes that are caused by our planned monitoring and information dissemination treatments.



Douglas Burbank; Bodo Bookhagen                                  8/1/11-7/31/17                    $275,006


National Science Foundation 1050070


The Pamir Frontal Thrust System: Rates, Style, and Controls on Deformation.


Our goals include defining how, where, and at what rates shortening has been accommodated within the Pamir-Tian Shan structural corridor, and exploring the extent to which erosion by an axial river modulates shortening rates on faults proximal to the river. We will focus our work along the axis of the structural corridor where we can examine a rich suite of along- strike structural variability in the style, orientation, and (likely) rate of deformation. The Pamir Frontal Thrust (PFT) is the leading edge of the Pamir orogen. In reality, some apparently Pamir-related faults occur to the north of the PFT, including nearby faults that ruptured in the 1985 M7.4 Wuqia earthquake [Feng et al., 1988]. Within the study area, the PFT tends to be localized within lower Paleogene gypsum beds, and it typically carries the entire Cenozoic stratigraphic succession (up to 8 km thick) in its hanging wall. Where the PFT is exposed in the Bozi Tage Range near the Kezilesu River, it tends to be a low-angle thrust dipping from 0° to 15°. Ongoing slip on the PFT is evidenced by offset talus slopes that show fresh scarps. Typically, the PFT slices across the Xiyu conglomerate, an upper Cenozoic, time-transgressive fluvial conglomerate that ranges in age from 16 to 0 Ma within the foreland [Heermance et al., 2007], but which is less than 1.6 Ma where it has been paleomagnetically dated a few kilometers north of the PFT in the corridor [Chen et al., 2005]. On the eastern margin of the Mayikake Basin, the PFT cuts nearly horizontally across a 50°-dipping, 3-km-thick panel of Xiyu conglomerate for about 4 kilometers.



Leila Carvalho; Charles Jones; Richard Church; Alan Murray; Dar Roberts

                                                                                                8/1/17-7/31/20                    $754,493

National Science Foundation 1664173


PREEVENTS Track 2: Understanding Extreme Fire Weather Hazards and Improving Resilience in Coastal Santa Barbara, California


Frequent gusty downslope winds accompanied by rapid warming and decreased relative humidity are among the most significant fire weather conditions affecting coastal areas like Santa Barbara County (SB) in Southern California. Such conditions have affected the evolution of 15 major wildfires in SB (since 1955) responsible for loss of life, injuries, millions of dollars in property loss, and significant environmental impacts. The coastal communities of SB, with nearly 200,000 people, are particularly exposed to wildfire hazards as most of the population lives in a narrow zone between the mountains and the ocean. US-101 highway runs parallel to the coast and is the area most important evacuation route. SB Fire Department along with other agencies rely extensively on the National Weather Service (NWS) to provide accurate forecasts of wind direction and speed, onset and demise of windstorms in preparing for firefighting strategies. However, the current approaches are limited in scope, detail and how interacting mechanisms are taken into account. To enhance capabilities and understanding, an interdisciplinary team of experts in atmospheric sciences, fire-weather, ecosystem management, remote sensing, and transportation modeling propose to develop a framework that better accounts for mechanisms of downslope windstorms and fire spread regimes in order to derive probability risks of extreme hazards along this coastal region. This proposal contributes to PREEVENTS goals 1 and 2 by enhancing understanding, improving capabilities for modeling and forecasting hazards and increasing resilience. The following tasks are proposed: 1) use available observations and the Weather Research & Forecasting Model (WRF) at 1km resolution from 1979-present to investigate mechanisms and develop a climatology of significant downslope winds in the Santa Inez Mountains; 2) based on historical extreme events (task-1), use fire spread models (based on input from the WRF and observed fuels) assuming fire ignition in areas previously burned (validation) and in areas that presently have high density of vegetation fuels; 3) carry out fire weather risk assessment and determine the spatial probability of fire weather hazards affecting the greater SB region; and, 4) use transportation models and results from 1-3 to examine evacuation strategies and improve resilience.



Leila Carvalho                                                                      4/1/16-3/31/18                      $70,784


Rutgers University 5898


The precipitation response to ENSO over Tropical South America: spatial and temporal heterogeneity and the role of the land surface


The rainfall anomalies associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events frequently cause disruptive impacts on the populations, ecosystems, and economies of Tropical South America (TSA). An outstanding challenge for understanding—and in turn, developing more accurate forecasts—of ENSO impacts is the regional and seasonal heterogeneity inherent in the precipitation response to ENSO forcing. We propose here to analyze this spatiotemporally complex response in the context of land-atmosphere (LA) interactions. In pursuing this research, we are guided by the following hypotheses: (1) the physical characteristics of the land surface and LA interactions, including soil moisture, surface energy flux partitioning, and boundary layer characteristics, account for the regional and seasonal heterogeneity of the rainfall response to ENSO over TSA; (2) the spatial divergence in current generation model simulation of the TSA precipitation response to ENSO can be tied to errors in the simulation of specific land surface processes; and (3) LA interactions modulate how ENSO forcing affects the frequency, intensity, and duration of sub-daily/daily rainfall, which considered together lead to the seasonal-mean responses we associate with ENSO forcing.



Kelly Caylor                                                                          8/1/16-8/21/17                      $27,518


Clark University 2A325-7533


Hazards SEES: Understanding cross-scale interactions of trade and food policy to improve resilience to drought risk in Zambia


This effort involves the integration of data and models for improved forecasting of hydrological hazards and agricultural production, and dissemination of forecast products. Part of this considers impact reduction focusing on identifying strategies to improve early warning of hydrological hazards through use of improved forecast products and their uptake, and improving resilience of local populations through improved access to resources, and development of policy recommendations that ensure availability and access to food. There is also a biophysical science aspect of this research, including the analysis and development of improved prediction systems for hydrological hazards and agricultural impacts.


Kelly Caylor                                                                          1/1/18-12/31/18                    $80,267


Clark University SB180140


Developing and Scaling Up The Mapping Africa Active Learning Platform


UCSB will contribute to the following project tasks: 1)  Porting the existing active learning code to a scalable parallel computing environment (AWS EMR cluster); 2) Adapting image pre-processing to handle irregular image boundaries and incomplete coverage by training data; 3)  Converting external cython image feature extraction code into streaming Apache Spark Routine; 4) Adapting code to be image agnostic (i.e. can operate on PlanetScope, Sentinel, Landsat, etc.); 5)  Integrating, testing, and demonstrating the complete active learning platform. 



Kelly Caylor; Leila Carvalho; Matthew Hall; Greg Husak; David Siegel

                                                                                                8/1/17-12/31/18                  $487,730

National Science Foundation 1659449


CC* Networking Infrastructure: UCSB Network Upgrade to 100 Gigabit


This project will enhance the University of California, Santa Barbara network in order to enable global, high-performance, end-to-end access to dynamic network services that enable rapid, unimpeded movement of the diverse and distributed scientific data sets utilized by 120 research teams at UCSB, facilitating learning, science and research, and establishing greater accessibility of scientific and research data. The network enhancements will allow the UCSB Earth Research Institute (ERI) and Department of Geography researchers to effectively share data of world-wide importance and impact. This effort addresses current network saturation challenges and facilitates efficient movement of large data sets between the numerous research activities in Ellison Hall on the UCSB campus, home to both ERI and Geography, and the Alexandria Digital Research Library (ADRL), UC Santa Barbara Library’s home for collections of digital research materials, in the UCSB Library and in the North Hall Data Center on the UCSB campus. In addition, the network upgrades will also allow ERI and Geography collaborators who are located across the nation and world-wide to effectively access the data sets by increasing bandwidth from the CENIC network interface to the UCSB North Hall Data Center where increasing amounts of the data are stored.



Kelly Caylor                                                                          2/1/17-8/31/19                    $628,779


National Science Foundation 1801251


WSC-Category 2 Collaborative: Impacts of Agricultural Decision Making and Adaptive Management on Food Security


Despite significant attention from governments, donor agencies, and NGOs, food security remains an unresolved challenge in the context of global human welfare. Both technical and conceptual limits have prevented the collection and analysis of rich empirical datasets with high temporal frequency over large spatial extents necessary to investigate how changes to seasonal precipitation patterns are affecting food security. This research project will transform both methodological and conceptual frameworks for assessing the sustainability of dryland agricultural systems. The research will bring new understanding of how dryland farmers adapt to within-season variability in climate and how those adaptations affect their current and future resilience to climate variability and climate change. Project findings will improve forecast models used to monitor and predict the sustainability of water-dependent agricultural systems. By marrying the simple idea of cell phone adoption with state-of-art research in data science, crop prediction, and environmental/social monitoring, the project will advance and accelerate scientific understanding of an important global sustainability problem.



Kelly Caylor                                                                          8/1/16-8/31/17                      $27,518


Princeton University SUB0000189


Hazards SEES: Understanding cross-scale interactions of trade and food policy to improve resilience to drought risk in Zambia


This effort involves the integration of data and models for improved forecasting of hydrological hazards and agricultural production, and dissemination of forecast products. Part of this considers impact reduction focusing on identifying strategies to improve early warning of hydrological hazards through use of improved forecast products and their uptake, and improving resilience of local populations through improved access to resources, and development of policy recommendations that ensure availability and access to food. There is also a biophysical science aspect of this research, including the analysis and development of improved prediction systems for hydrological hazards and agricultural impacts.  



Christopher Costello                                                            9/1/14-8/31/17                      $37,515


Conservation International 1000487


Maintaining productivity and incomes in the Tonle Sap fishery in the face of climate change


Indiscriminate fisheries are fisheries that target multiple species and multiple size classes. These fisheries are very poorly understood relative to single-species target fisheries, yet they feed millions of people. Their response to human-driven changes in freshwater dynamics is almost completely unexplored. The goal of our research is to better understand indiscriminate fisheries and their response to climate change, using one of the largest and most dynamic indiscriminate fisheries in the world as a research testbed. The ecological and social implications of indiscriminate fisheries are particularly important for the world's poor. Major indiscriminate fisheries exist in inland freshwater systems in low-income countries where freshwater fish consumption is a very important part of nutritional security. Protein from large freshwater fisheries are of greatest importance in countries with annual GDP per capita of less than US$1000. Cambodia's freshwater fishery stands out as one of the largest contributors of animal protein to people living in poverty; major components of this fishery are indiscriminate. Here, we will focus on the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia, perhaps the world's largest indiscriminate fishery. The Tonle Sap system feeds approximately 3 million people directly and provides income for millions more. The productivity of the system relies on hydrologic dynamics that interact with land use dynamics, making for a complicated system that is impacted in many ways by human actions and will be vulnerable in many dimensions to climate change. As a result of recent ministerial decisions on fisheries management, the Tonle Sap represents a prime example of an indiscriminate fishery, as well as a model of community control and management of a freshwater fishery. These attributes make it a rich resource to inform management of other indiscriminate fisheries and improve the living conditions of communities that depend upon them.



John Cottle                                                                            9/1/15-8/31/19                    $257,128


National Science Foundation 1443296


Petrologic Constraints on Subduction Termination from Lamprophyres, Ross Orogen, Antarctica


This project proposes to systematically study a suite of lamprophyres, their xenoliths and

associated rocks, spanning c.1300km along-strike and emplaced during the latest stages of

the Neoproterozoic - Ordovician Ross orogeny, Antarctica. High-precision geochronology coupled with whole rock and mineral-scale elemental, isotope geochemical and petrologic analysis will elucidate: 1) the mechanisms for, and temporal and spatial scales over which, deep crustal foundering/delamination occurred and; 2) the processes responsible for the significant isotopic heterogeneities observed in these rocks.



John Cottle                                                                            1/15/17-6/30/19                    $86,426


National Science Foundation 1650265


Collaborative Research: Andean plutonic perspectives on generation, storage, and eruption of rhyolite


This project will be an international collaboration to synthesize and integrate field observations, geo- and thermochronology, and compositions of rocks and minerals, together with thermal modeling of a young plutonic complex typical of the Andean orogen. The shallow emplacement, range of compositions, and three-dimensional exposures make a superb target for investigating timescales of epizonal pluton assembly, magma storage, and relationships to silicic volcanism in an active subduction zone. Our approach includes hypothesis testing aimed to: 1) establish rates and mechanisms of pluton assembly, 2) identify individual magma batches and assess interactions,

if any, between them, 3) determine the timescales of crystallization and cooling of individual magma batches, and system-wide, 4) establish petrogenetic relationships between coeval, but compositionally distinct plutons, and 5) evaluate whether eruptible rhyolitic melt formed.



Carla D'Antonio; Dar Roberts; Max Moritz                     10/1/17-11/30/18                  $12,963


University of California - Berkeley


Restoration and Resilience of Endemic Bigcone Douglas-fir after the 2007 Zaca Fire


UCSB will be responsible for interpretation of satellite imagery documenting location of BCDF stands and interpretation of environmental features affecting stand resilience. This effort will sponsor a graduate student who will work on the restoration of degraded stands of BCDF. This will involve overseeing seed collection, seedling rearing, experimental design and out-planting of BCDF seedlings.



Carla D'Antonio; Max Moritz                                             10/1/17-11/30/18                  $12,963


University of California - Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR)


Restoration and Resilience of Endemic Bigcone Douglas-fir after the 2007 Zaca Fire


Focusing on bigcone Douglas-fir after the Zaca Fire using a science-based restoration project. The project will be mapping the forest stands and their condition, analyses of environmental factors important for regeneration, collection and propagation of local seed, outplanting, evaluation of survival in the field, and synthesis of findings for the long-term adaptive management of bigcone Douglas-fir.



Frank Davis                                                                           10/1/15-9/30/18                    $63,513


National Science Foundation 1550653


Collaborative Research: EAGER-NEON: How do microscale biophysical processes mediate ecosystem shifts during climate change-driven drought?


The project team will use National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Airborne Observation Platform (AOP) data in synergy with their own microclimate measurements, experimental data on tree species establishment, and ecosystem models, to test the hypothesis that microenvironments exert a strong influence on emergent macroecological patterns of forest dynamics. Research questions are: 1) How do microclimates (solar insolation, surface temperature, and soil moisture regime) vary at fine spatial and temporal scales across the southern Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains of the Pacific Southwest NEON Domain? 2) How does the relationship between local microclimate and vegetation canopy cover change across the foothills to subalpine climate gradient that occur within this region? 3) How does drought-induced tree mortality affect microenvironmental conditions, and how do patterns of mortality and canopy gap formation affect subsequent forest dynamics?



Frank Davis                                                                           6/1/11-12/31/17               $2,328,985


National Science Foundation EF-1065864


Collaborative Research: Do Micro-environments Govern Macro-ecology?


Lead Institution: UC Santa Barbara Collaborators: UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, Arizona State University, Conservation Biology Institute, Desert Research Institute, Conservation International


This project examines the effect of microenvironments (i.e. areas of high habitat suitability for individual species on macroecological processes, including species distribution responses to climate change and consequent extinction risk. Microenvironments have played critical roles in rapid vegetation response to past climate change, such as the emergence from the last glacial maximum. This project tests the importance of these difficult-to-model features in vegetation response to future climate change. The overarching research question addressed is ""How does macroecological response to climate change emerge from finer scale climate and population processes?"


The project uses a combination of modeling and field experimentation to answer this question. A collaborative research team will model microenvironment impacts on species distribution, abundance and diversity under rapid climate change for four tree species across four study sites in the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges of California. This proposed research design is a novel combination of site trials, distribution models and population models, incorporating measured (rather than inferred) species' tolerances relevant to microenvironments at scales that vary over five orders of magnitude (30m-3000km). Analytical tools will include reciprocal transplant experiments, field surveys, species trait-based distribution models, population models and biogeographic models of climate change. Physical models of microenvironments are linked to models of tree species occupation of microenvironments, which in turn inform models of population-level responses. Climate change is simulated using Regional Earth Systems Models and statistical downscaling from global climate model simulations. Field experiments examine the response of establishment phase (seedling) dynamics, the life history stage most sensitive to altered climate, through transplanting protocols to lower (warmer) elevations. The frequency of fire in the landscape is projected using correlations of fire to landscape conditions under current climate. Establishment phase and fire information is then used in models of single species population responses and multi-taxa responses in complex landscapes. These population-level models will give clear indication of whether microenvironments change species dynamics in rapid climate change in ways that will dramatically change range-wide and continental-scale biological responses to climate change.



Timothy DeVries                                                                  7/1/16-6/30/19                    $260,662


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX16AI22G


Quantifying the ocean's biological carbon pump with remotely sensed and in-situ observations


Organisms in the ocean’s sunlit surface layer take up carbon at a globally-integrated rate 5 times faster than humans emit CO2 to the atmosphere. A substantial but highly uncertain portion of this organic carbon ultimately sinks into the deeper ocean, where it is sequestered for years to millennia, significantly affecting the Earth’s climate. This process, known as the ocean’s biological carbon pump, both governs and responds to changes in Earth’s climate on decadal to millennial timescales.

This project develops new mechanistic, observationally-constrained models to address substantial uncertainties surrounding the operation of the biological pump in the contemporary ocean, and its response to climate change. This project aims to: (i) Quantify how much carbon the biological pump delivers to the deep ocean on an annual basis, and how long this carbon is sequestered in the deep ocean; (ii) Develop mechanistic models relating biological pump processes to remotely sensed variables, so that the biological pump can be monitored from space; (iii) Quantify the environmental sensitivities of key biological pump processes, so that climate predictions can be improved; (iv) Develop a new framework for assimilation and integration of satellite and oceanographic data, to maximize the useful information from space-based and ocean observing systems. The primary novelty of this project is that it integrates both satellite and in-situ oceanographic observations in the context of a global ocean circulation and biogeochemistry inverse model. Each data source provides unique constraints on different important parts of the biological pump. Satellites sense surface biological properties such as productivity and ecosystem size structure, while oceanographic tracers integrate information on the rates and pathways of organic carbon decomposition. By combining the two, this project aims to develop models that have the potential to change how NASA resources will be used to monitor and quantify the ocean’s carbon cycle.



Timothy DeVries                                                                  7/1/17-6/30/20                    $274,355


National Science Foundation 1658392


Collaborative research: Combining models and observations to constrain the marine iron cycle


Iron (Fe) is an important micronutrient for marine phytoplankton that limits primary productivity over much of the ocean. However, the major fluxes in the marine Fe cycle remain poorly quantified: ocean models that attempt to synthesize our understanding of Fe biogeochemistry predict widely different Fe inputs to the ocean, and are often unable to capture first-order features of the Fe distribution. The proposed work aims to resolve these problems using advanced data assimilation (inverse) methods to "teach" the widely used Biogeochemical Elemental Cycling (BEC) model how to better represent Fe sources, sinks, and cycling processes. This will be achieved by implementing BEC in the efficient Ocean Circulation Inverse Model (OCIM) and expanding it to simulate the cycling of additional tracers that constrain unique aspects of the Fe cycle, including aluminum, thorium, helium and Fe isotopes. In this framework, our inverse model can rapidly explore alternative representations of Fe-cycling processes, guided by new high-quality observations. Through this model-data synthesis, we will address three specific objectives: (i) To quantify the magnitude of each Fe source to the ocean; (ii) To better understand the loss of Fe by particle scavenging and quantify the lifetime of Fe in the ocean; (iii) To make new robust predictions of Fe cycling under future climate change scenarios, by coupling the improved BEC to an Earth System Model.



Qinghua Ding                                                                        6/1/18-5/31/21                    $341,590


National Science Foundation 1744598


Collaborative Research: Arctic sea ice variability: Remote drivers and local processes


The goal of the research is to understand and quantify how the atmospheric circulation in the Arctic influences winds, cloudiness, water vapor, radiation and thereby sea ice variability. We will examine the dynamical mechanisms that link the Arctic circulation to remote drivers in the tropics. We will put circulation changes in the Arctic and the related climate shift over the last 40 years into a longer term, 117 years, context to better understand the relative contributions of anthropogenic and internal variability though analyses of observations and model simulations. We will then evaluate how well CMIP5/6 models reproduce the observed linkage between Arctic sea ice and tropical sea surface temperatures and diagnose potential failures, and how such failures might affect model based hindcasts and projections of Arctic sea ice and climate.



Qinghua Ding                                                                        8/1/16-7/31/19                    $161,045


University of Washington UWSC9314


CVP: Seasonal to interannual variability and predictability of Arctic summertime sea ice associated with tropically forced planetary wave patterns


Increases in economic, environmental, and security interests in the Arctic demand improved prediction capabilities. This project explores a new path towards improved predictions of Arctic sea ice. We are investigating how teleconnections between tropical sea surface temperatures (SST) and high latitude circulation patterns can be exploited for sea ice predictions. Recent climate change in the Arctic is generally attributed to anthropogenic drivers and related feedbacks between sea ice, the ocean, and the atmosphere. However, work by Ding et al. (2014) and others (e.g. Trenberth et al. 2014) suggest that tropical Pacific SST variability is important in modulating recent Arctic climate variability by influencing the high-latitude atmospheric circulation. So far, these papers have examined the teleconnection between tropical SSTs and Arctic circulation and surface air temperatures. One unresolved question is how much does this tropical-Arctic teleconnection affect sea ice variability and predictability? This project aims to fill that gap. Indeed, preliminary results suggest that these links with sea ice exist. This work will focus on the implications of this link for seasonal predictability of sea ice and explore how a hierarchy of models captures this link and can be used and improved to enhance Arctic sea ice prediction.



Jeff Dozier; Ned Bair                                                            11/30/17-5/31/19                  $16,249


Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Spatial Dynamics of Grain Size, Radiative Forcing by Impurities, and Spectral Albedo from AVIRIS-NG Data in the Indian Himalaya


Glaciers in the Western Himalaya have generally retreated since the mid-1800s [Bhambri and Bolch, 2009; Gardner et al., 2013], yet large uncertainties persist about the scale of that retreat, its spatial variability, its causes, and the magnitude of the resulting contribution to sea-level rise [Mayewski and Jascheke, 1979; Kaab et al., 2012; Garde/le et al., 2013; Gardner et al., 2013]. Himalayan glacier retreat is commonly attributed to global warming, but air temperature and black carbon (BC) only began to increase appreciably about 40 years ago [Kaspari et al., 2011], whereas widespread increases in dust loading to the Himalaya in the last 150 years [Thompson et al., 2000; Conroy et al., 2013] have coincided with the sustained glacier retreat in the Himalaya. Recent in situ measurements, ice cores, and modeling of aerosol transport and radiative forcing in the Himalaya suggest that snow darkening, earlier exposure of darker glacier ice owing to more rapid snowmelt, and atmospheric heating from dust and BC may have at-surface radiative forcings 1 to 2 orders of magnitude stronger than those from all greenhouse gases [Qian et a., 2011; Nair et al., 2013; Kaspari et a/, 2014]. This evidence leads us to understand that a complex mix of forcings is changing this iconic region, beyond just radiative forcing from greenhouse gases. To explore this complex mix, we work under an overarching science goal: quantitatively understand physical processes that drive changes in the snow and ice of High Mountain Asia.



Jeff Dozier; Ned Bair                                                            1/20/15-1/19/20                  $150,215


DA Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory W913E5-15-C-0003


Methods to Estimate and Validate the Spatial Distribution of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE)


Accurate estimates of snow water equivalent (SWE) in mountain watersheds pose a longstanding, unsolved problem. Operational models’ high uncertainty imposes costs for water users. For instance, April to July runoff forecasts for the American River in California’s Sierra Nevada have a median error of 18%, and sometimes exceed 100% [Dozier, 2011]. Uncertainty stems from the heterogeneous nature of mountain snow. Spectral mixing techniques using satellite-based imagery in the visible and near-infrared bands have been successful at mapping snow covered area (SCA) at sub-pixel resolution [e.g., Rosenthal and Dozier, 1996; Painter et al., 2009]. The remotely sensed date of disappearance of snow from each pixel can be combined with a calculation of melt to reconstruct the accumulated SWE for each day back to the last significant snowfall [Martinec and Rango, 1981]. Successful examples of reconstructed SWE include large basins in the Rocky Mountains [Molotch, 2009] and the Sierra Nevada [Rittger, 2012; Guan et al., 2013; Girotto et al., 2014]. Reconstruction’s main advantage lies in its provision of spatially resolved SWE estimates without the need for ground based observations, but its biggest disadvantage is that SWE can only be calculated retroactively after snow disappears. Alternatively, passive microwave (PM) sensors offer real-time global SWE estimates but suffer from several issues, notably signal loss in wet snow [Chang, 2000], saturation in deep snow [Kelly et al., 2003; Takala et al., 2011; Hancock et al., 2013], decreasing SWE with increasing forest fraction [Nolin, 2010; Tedesco and Narvekar, 2010], subpixel variability in the mountains owing to the large (~25 km) pixel size [Vander Jagt et al., 2013], and SWE overestimation in the presence of large grains such as depth and surface hoar [Derksen et al., 2005; Durand et al., 2011].



Jeff Dozier; Ned Bair                                                            9/15/16-9/26/18                  $387,268


DA Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory W913E5-16-C-0013


Methods to Robustly Assess the Snow Water Resource in Remote Mountains


A billion people depend on melt water from snow and glaciers. As the climate warms, the timing and quantity of water from snow and glacial melt is changing. Little is known about the spatial distribution of snow over vast areas of the world. A few areas have relatively dense measurement networks or aerial snow surveys that provide estimates of basin wide snow water equivalent (SWE), which greatly aid runoff forecasts. Most mountain areas, i.e. almost all of High Mountain Asia, lack such measurements, and therefore have nonexistent or poor runoff forecasts. Additionally, there is no baseline in these areas, as accurate snow measurements are not available retrospectively either. In these austere areas, estimates of snow on the ground must be derived from different satellite measurements, all of which suffer from limitations.


We have developed a snowmelt energy balance model called the Parallel Energy Balance Model (ParBal) that is driven entirely by satellite-based measurements. ParBal is highly parallelized and optimized so that it can be run at resolutions that are an order of magnitude greater than current operational products, as well as for large areas (continents) over long time periods (decades). Recently, ParBal was used to build a snowpack in reverse with a technique called SWE Reconstruction. The reconstructed SWE was then validated using snow measurements from an aerial laser scanner and spectrometer in the Tuolumne Basin, CA. Results show that ParBal performed better than any other method tested, with no bias and very low (26%) mean absolute error (MAE) for basin-wide SWE. In contrast, the operational model used by the National Weather Service, The Snow Data Assimilation System, overestimated SWE in every year with a 33% mean Bias and a 65% MAE. SWE Reconstruction has several limitations: it is only available retrospectively after the snow melts; it can only estimate ablation; and it is only valid for regions with little accumulation during ablation. Because of these limitations, we will use reconstructed SWE as training data in machine learning techniques. We will use snow measurements that are available daily from optical- and micro-wavelength sensors aboard satellites as predictors. Machine learning allows for flexible utilization of these predictors since it is known that certain sensors are more effective in certain geographic areas and during certain times of the year. In this manner, we will generate models that can be used for near real-time SWE prediction, with the lags (i.e. a day or two) coming only from processing time.



Jeff Dozier                                                                              4/1/12-9/30/17                    $834,399


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX12AJ87G


Assessing Water Resources in Remote, Sparsely Gauged, Snow-Dominated Mountain Basins.


Our objective is to estimate seasonal snow volumes, relative to historical trends and extremes, in snow-dominated mountains that have austere infrastructure, sparse gauging, challenges of accessibility, and emerging or enduring insecurity related to water resources.


To judge feasibility, the effort looks at two regions, a validation case and a case representing the characteristics outlined above. For the validation case, we propose to use the Sierra Nevada of California, a mountain range of extensive historical study, emerging scientific innovation, and conflicting priorities in managing water for agriculture, urban areas, hydropower, recreation, habitat, and flood control. For the austere regional focus, we will examine southwest and south Asia, where some of the most persistent drought in the world causes food insecurity and combines with political instability, and occasional flooding, to affect US national security. Our approach will use a mix of satellite data and a spare modeling approach to present information essential for planning and decision making, ranging from optimization of proposed infrastructure projects to assessment of water resources stored as snow for seasonal forecasts.


We will combine optical imagery (MODIS on Terra/Aqua, VIIRS on NPP), passive microwave data (SSM/I, AMSR-E), retrospective reconstruction with energy balance calculations, and gridded feed-forward, uncoupled land surface modeling to establish retrospective context. Specifically, we will use the period spanning the decade-long record from Terra and Aqua to bracket the historical record. In the California Sierra Nevada, surface measurements have sufficient spatial and temporal resolution for us to validate our approach, which we will extend to the Hindu Kush of High Asia where surface data are sparse and where access presents significant difficulties. The world's mountains accumulate substantial snow and, in some areas, produce the bulk of the runoff. In ranges like Afghanistan's Hindu Kush, availability of water resources affects US policy, martial and humanitarian operations, and national security. The rugged terrain makes surface measurements difficult and also affects the analysis of remotely sensed data. The analysis would leverage several techniques developed from NASA-sponsored research and use NASA instruments. While using data from the Sierra Nevada for validation, the activity would also improve water resource assessment in that region where statistically based forecasts occasionally produce significantly errors. Partner organizations include the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NOAA Office of Hydrology, organizations that work together in the NOAA-led IWRSS (Integrated Water Resources Science and Services).



Jeff Dozier                                                                              9/1/15-8/31/17                    $239,066


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX15AT01G


CAS-NASA Workshops on Snow and Glacier Change and Related Natural Disasters in High Mountain Asia


Quality of life in High Mountain Asia depends partly on an ability to understand and monitor the dynamics of the glaciers and seasonal snow, and to project plausible future scenarios for different predictions of future concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Because of rugged terrain, political instability, and the meager measurement infrastructure, remotely sensed measurements must play a crucial role. The proposal is to hold two follow-on workshops to the initial one in January 2015 in Kathmandu, which the NASA Earth Science Division and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) co-organized with the assistance of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Scientists in both the U.S. and China use satellite and field data provided by both, and carry out field work throughout High Mountain Asia. CAS has operated a glacier field station in the Tien Shan since the 1958 International Geophysical Year. Several U.S. scientists have worked in the region and published findings that analyze Chinese data. A face-to-face workshop allows us to fully characterize the data available, learn about ongoing work on snow, glaciers, and hazards in High Mountain Asia, and best specify how a Glacier Melt Tool will advance science worldwide. At the Kathmandu workshop, participants identified a set of priority themes and began to define specific collaborations that take advantage of strengths and resources of NASA and CAS that include satellite and airborne sensing, field measurements, and modeling. To further these collaborations, we established three working groups-- process research and modeling, data sharing and exchange, and validation--to begin work on a “Glacier Melt Tool” to support monitoring, process understanding, and future projections of glaciers and snow in High Mountain Asia. The two subsequent workshops--one in the U.S. and the next in Beijing--will provide more specific guidance about research needed to understand changing climate and implications of human impacts on glaciers and using Earth observations, how the changing cryosphere in High Mountain Asia alters the risks of hazards, and how societal impacts on communities in the region might be mitigated. The recent earthquake in the region illustrates how the combination of tremors, snow and ice, and avalanches has devastated villages, and raises the hope--indeed the expectation--that scientific and technological resources of NASA and CAS could help restore Nepalese communities and lessen the consequences of future events. The September 9-11, 2015 workshop at Mammoth Mountain, California will consist of a few keynote talks, invited presentations that build on the work presented in Kathmandu in January, posters that illustrate relevant recent work by the attendees and their students, and break-out meetings of the working groups. Invitations to attend will be extended to the participants in the January workshop along with a few others who were not able to attend that one. Because of lower costs associated with a meeting in the U.S. instead of Nepal, we will encourage attendance by some advanced graduate students also. We will cap attendance at 65 participants, with travel support for 31. The third meeting in Beijing, to be scheduled in early 2016, will enable us to finalize all recommendations and formulate goals. At that meeting, we will conclude preparation of publishable papers that lay out strategies for future research. The Chinese Academy of Sciences will host that meeting. This proposal includes travel support for 25 U.S. attendees who are not Civil Servants.



Jeff Dozier; William Tyler Brandt                                     9/1/16-8/31/18                      $75,000


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX16AO25H


Using the spatial variability of snow accumulation to evaluate the orographic effect in California's Sierra Nevada


California depends greatly on snow accumulation in high altitude watersheds in the Sierra Nevada for its annual water supply. Snowfall is typically generated by the topographic lifting of moist air advected to the region by powerful winter storms. Higher elevations tend to receive more precipitation that the lowland areas due to orographic effects. To capture this spatial variability we currently use a combination of rain gauges and snow pillows. However, the paucity of these stations, particularly at high elevations, makes the estimate of mountain precipitation error prone and hard to assess. This has large implications for the hydrologic modeling of these watersheds and therefore streamflow forecasting. In order to reduce the error around these forecasts, we need alternatives to surface stations that can truly capture the spatial patterns of precipitation. Remotely sensed snow depth and water equivalent, at a time scale that resolves storms, could offer a truly unique answer to this problem. Even though NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory’s (ASO) primary mission objective is to measure snow depth and reflectivity for streamflow forecasting, it has recorded a number of storms in 2014 and 2015, and will again fly this year. This has presented a truly unique opportunity to study the spatial distribution of snowfall in the Tuolumne basin in California’s Central Sierra Nevada. Therefore, I will use ASO to first investigate the spatial structure of precipitation through changes in snow depth, and then use these observations to assess whether gridded precipitation products and surface station data can replicate these observed spatial patterns. Finally, I will analyze the regional atmospheric circulation patterns for the individual events, as this may be key to understanding the differences in snow accumulation between storms. Collection of the ASO data upfront and preliminary testing have demonstrated the feasibility of this study, thus minimizing the proposal risk, while also indicating the potential for considerable scientific reward. The proposed study directly supports the “Water and Energy Cycle” focus of NASA’s Earth Science Research program and the “Water Resources” focus area of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program. The work will provide valuable insights into to the distribution of water in mountain environments through an innovative and unique blend of NASA remotely sensed observations and models.



Jeff Dozier                                                                              3/1/18-2/28/21                 $1,036,967


University of California


Headwaters to groundwater: Resources in a changing climate


Climate change and greater water demand pose new challenges for managing water resources in California. To enable California to optimize future water infrastructure, legislation, and economy, scientists at 5 UC campuses, LLNL, and LBL will address measurement and modeling of water from headwaters in the Sierra Nevada, through rivers and reservoirs, to and through groundwater in California’s Central Valley. The goal is to provide scientific information to optimize water storage, quality, and groundwater sustainability as precipitation varies, temperatures warm, and population grows. To consider the range of headwater-to-groundwater systems, we focus on three river basins comprising different climatic, geologic, and socio-economic settings -- Shasta R (volcanic, northernmost, lowest and wettest), Kings R (granitic, southernmost, driest, highest, poorest), and the American R (metamorphic, wealthiest). Novel methods to monitor and model ongoing and future changes in rain and snowmelt in the headwaters will be coupled with process-driven modeling and measurement of evapotranspiration, groundwater recharge, and withdrawal in the lowlands. Models will consider changes in water policy and infrastructure, and resulting impacts on energy production and consumption. Collaboration between the campuses and Labs will build interdisciplinary teams that include faculty in all career stages who study aspects of the water cycle from remote sensing of precipitation to water policy. Collaborators from LLNL and LBL contribute capabilities and expertise in isotopic tracing of water, high-performance computer modeling of groundwater and surface water, and energy implications of water management. This proposal strengthens DOE’s mission, to ensure America's security and prosperity by addressing energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through science and technology. Ultimately, the alliance between UC faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students with scientists at LLNL and LBL will improve understanding of how changing climate and water demand will affect water resources through the middle to the end of this century. Our proposal will nurture a new generation of scientists in the nexus of climate, water, and energy. An advisory board of water practitioners will help target our findings to help water managers make the best decisions for California’s precious water resources.



Thomas Dunne                                                                     11/15/07-11/30/17              $286,582


California Department of Water Resources 460007708


San Joaquin River Restoration Program


This project involves field and computational research to assist the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in providing Chinook salmon habitat in Reach 1 of the San Joaquin River. Completion will involve both field data collection and computer modeling activities designed to answer the question: "How will the form and bed conditions of the gravel bed reach of the San Joaquin River respond to an alteration of flow regime and to manipulation of the sediment within the reach, and how will the changes affect the quality of habitat for Chinook salmon?"


The project has supported two PhD theses on gravel mobility and hyporheic flows in gravel bars, and has installed a monitoring system to continue the study of gravel mobility in high flows of 2017 and future years.



Zachary Eilon                                                                        8/15/17-7/31/21                    $22,032


National Science Foundation 1658214


Collaborative Research: Imaging small-scale convection and structure of the mantle in the south Pacific: a US contribution to an international PacificArray


This project is a collaborative seismological exploration of shallow Earth structure at two locations within the Pacific plate, over a four-year time frame. The primary target is to image putative small-scale convection beneath the oceanic plate that may give rise to distinctive gravitational lineations. Numerous secondary targets include: investigation of the poorly understood base of tectonic plates (the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary); analysis of rock fabrics and anelasticity that can inform us about the distribution of melt and the deformation history of the plate; and refining our limited understanding of plate ageing processes. The two ocean bottom seismic instrument deployments will contribute towards an international effort to instrument better the Pacific ocean basin in order to improve global seismological coverage that currently limits community Earth models. The relatively remote field locations were selected to significantly expand existing instrumental coverage and to interrogate potential small-scale convection structures. UCSB will be one of three US institutions responsible for this portion of the international Pacific Array campaign; the other institutions are LDEO Columbia University and Brown University. International partners include teams from Japan, New Zealand, and Taiwan.



Zachary Eilon                                                                        5/15/18-4/30/21                    $81,293


National Science Foundation 1723170


Collaborative Research: The context for rifting in East Africa - melt distribution and lithospheric removal imaged from axis to flank


Continental rifting is inherent to the process of plate tectonics and lies at the nexus of geodynamical, geochemical, geological, and seismological research. Rift zones exhibit marked variability in terms of extension rate, magmatism, pre-existing structure, and temporal evolution, and initial conditions and geologic idiosyncrasies likely play a key role in rift dynamics. Therefore, understanding the entire extensional system – from rift axis to flank – is critical. Our study will explore extensional deformation of mantle lithosphere and the crust: how strain varies with distance from the axis, whether along-axis heterogeneity is a function of time or pre-existing conditions, and how extension is accommodated at crustal versus mantle depths. This work will help us ascertain whether rifting is controlled by shallow or deeper processes, with an emphasis on the location of melt and its role in modifying lithospheric strength at different depths. This project entails seismic imaging in the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) and Gulf of Aden (GoA) out to the rift margins. In addition to data from existing experiments since 2001, this project will utilize a new dataset collected by Keranen that extends seismic coverage of the MER to ~500 km off the rift axis. The wide aperture array is critical to constrain pre-rifted structure that may control rift dynamics, as well as to image the geodynamically-crucial transitional zone between rift and flank. By comparing the incipient MER and the more mature GoA, we will elucidate the time-dependency of lithospheric strain geometry. The proposed imaging comprises simultaneous inversion of P and S receiver functions with Rayleigh wave phase velocities within a Bayesian framework; this approach is ideally suited to constrain lithologic/seismic discontinuities, the presence of melt, and complex 3-D rift structure. Anisotropic body wave inversions and splitting studies will help constrain the locus of melt as well as the time-integrated strain history of this rift.



Joan Florsheim                                                                     10/1/16-9/30/17                    $13,943


CSU San Diego State University SA0000537


Evaluating Potential Environmental Impacts from Channel Morphology and Habitat Changes to the Santa Ana River Downstream of Prado Dam


The primary goal of this study is to determine whether habitats within the Santa Ana River below Prado Dam are sustainable or subject to significant degradation due to anticipated changes in hydrology and geomorphic changes to riverbed characteristics. Habitats within the Santa Ana River are critical to numerous threatened and endangered species such as the Santa Ana Sucker and Least Bell’s Vireo, and other native aquatic and terrestrial species. The study includes two phases—the first phase will review existing models and reports to analyze current understanding and gaps in knowledge about the potential degradation of physical habitat downstream of the Prado Dam within Reach 9 of the Santa Ana River. The second phase work plan will be developed in coordination with SDSU and USACOE.



Joan Florsheim                                                                     11/21/16-6/30/19                $125,000


Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District 1016


Biophysical Approach Toward Riparian Conservation and Floodplain Ecosystem Functionality


In collaboration with SCAPOSD, this project will develop a biophysical rationale for designation of spatial extent required for riparian corridor conservation and floodplain ecosystem functionality using available LiDAR data. This project will also develop a science (bio-physical)-based rationale to identify elements central to conservation of floodplain ecosystems.



James Frew                                                                           8/1/13-7/31/19                    $250,364


National Science Foundation 1302236


III: Medium: Collaborative Research: Citing Structured and Evolving Data


Citation is an essential part of scientific and scholarly publishing: it is used to gauge the trust placed in published data and, for better or worse, is an important factor in judging academic reputation. Now that much scientific publishing – especially data publishing – takes place through a database rather than conventional journals, how should something that is found in a database be cited? More generally, how should digital data that is stored in a repository with internal structure and which is subject to change be cited? This is the case for the very large number of curated databases through which much scientific publishing now takes place; it is also true of most scientific data collections, which are seldom stable.


There has recently been substantial interest in the problem of data citation, and various organizations have proposed structures for the format and content of citations; however most proposals do not address issues of structure and change that are intrinsic to databases. The focus of this proposal is to develop a framework for data citation which takes into account the following issues: (1) the potentially very large number of possible citations; (2) citations should be both human and machine readable; and (3) citations must conform to specifications prescribed by both the publishers of the data and by the various standards that are being established. All these give rise to interesting computational challenges: citations must be generated automatically from the data; the source data must be guaranteed to support the generation of these citations; and the generated citations must be guaranteed to conform to the specifications. Of course, as with any computational problem, all this must be done efficiently.


Citation is also closely related to provenance and issues of reproducible results. Workflows, executable papers, and microcitations have all been proposed to support reproducible analysis of data. The work of this project will explore the connections between these ideas and, where possible, establish a common framework.


For many databases, the publishers and authors have a clear idea of how they would like their data to be cited, and there is enough information in the database to enable these citations to be generated once the right computational machinery has been developed. However, interesting questions arise when a set of data to be cited is arrived at by means of a query, in which case the query itself may need to be included (an actionable citation). In other cases, the navigational structure needed for meaningful citation – such as in the case with linked open data or RDF, which are ostensibly large amorphous graphs – may be missing. The challenge here is to find techniques for discovering or adding that structure to provide the necessary basis for citation.



James Frew                                                                           10/1/12-9/30/18                  $372,000


University Industry Research Corporation SB130034


Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data - ISTC-BD


This project focuses on constructing EarthDB, a SciDB database of primary Earth observation data. Primary data is original sensor outputs or human observations, not subject to any reformatting, reprojection, aggregation, or other transformations beyond those required to digitize and ingest them. SciDB will allow common Earth science analytical operations (e.g., coordinate transformations, aggregation, spatial algebra, etc.) or data fusion (e.g., joins across multiple heterogeneous data types and representations) to be expressed as database queries against original observations, providing heretofore unavailable flexibility and traceability. We will populate the EarthDB pilot with data sources that challenge both scalability and heterogeneity. We have already demonstrated the feasibility of managing and processing MODIS "level 1" swath data (the lowest-level digital representation of this Earth imaging satellite sensor) in SciDB.



Phil Gans                                                                               6/1/16-8/31/17                      $42,715


US Geological Survey G16AC00157


Geologic Mapping of the Snake Range Metamorphic Core Complex, Eastern Nevada: Unraveling the Creatceous-Paleocene History of Burial and Partial Exhumation of Footwall Rocks


The Snake Range in eastern Nevada is an exceptional natural laboratory to investigate the deep burial and partial exhumation that characterizes the early history of most Cordilleran metamorphic core complexes. This effort will facilitate two graduate and two undergraduate student geologic mapping projects in a portion of the footwall of the northern Snake Range Decollement (NSRD), where the Miocene extensional overprint is less pervasive and older structures and fabrics are well-preserved. The primary objectives of this project are: 1) Produce publishable digital geologic maps, including two maps of key areas at 1:10,000, and a compilation of new and existing mapping to complete Six Mile Canyon 7.5’ Quadrangle at 1:24,000, with accompanying cross-sections and technical reports, and 2) Train two graduate and undergraduate students in the making of high-quality geologic maps and conducting field-based research. The four students will map independent but complementary areas: one will map an approximately 30 km2 area at 1:10,000 of intensely-folded Cambrian to Ordovician marble and calc-schist that is cut by an Eocene (?) dike swarm in the northernmost part of the range. The goals are to document the fold geometry associated with Mesozoic shortening, the geometry, kinematics and timing of different tectonite fabrics, and degree of footwall rotation. Another student (MS) will map a 35 km2 area at 1:10,000 along the western flank of the range, focusing on the geometry of a recently discovered east-directed thrust fault system. Two undergraduate students will be selected to join the EDMAP mapping effort for the last 4 weeks of summer to help complete the Six Mile Canyon 7.5’ Quadrangle. Our study will shed new light on how older thickening and extensional(?) events influenced the Miocene detachment faulting history in this (and other) core complexes.



Brad Hacker                                                                          6/1/16-5/31/19                    $215,394


Boise State University 6800-G (NSF Flow-through)


PIRE: ExTerra Field Institute and Research Endeavor (E-FIRE)


The rheology of quartzofeldspathic crust is not well understood, despite being a critical aspect underpinning geodynamic models. Measurements of U-Pb ages of titanite of subducted crust can provide a map of how extensively quartzofeldspathic rocks recrystallize at subduction-zone conditions. In this project, U-Pb ages and trace-element concentrations of titanite will be measured in situ by laser ablation split-stream ICP mass spectrometry to provide a nappe-scale map of strain in the Brossasco–Isasca unit of the diamond-bearing Dora Maira massif. In collaboration with T. Gerya, geodynamic models of subduction of quartzofeldspathic rocks at similar P-T conditions will be assessed for concordance with the implications of the titanite measurements. Methods: Detailed field study, chemical mapping of major elements, trace elements and U-Pb ages using EPMA and LASS.



Brad Hacker; John Cottle                                                   2/15/16-1/31/19                  $332,772


National Science Foundation 1551054


Collaborative Research: Characterizing and Modeling Crustal Recycling


Recycling of continental crust into the mantle is among the most-important processes driving the chemical and physical evolution of Earth. Mechanisms of crustal recycling include arc subduction, sediment subduction, continent subduction, subduction erosion, and foundering. These processes dictate the rates and types of crustal chemical and physical evolution—and even more-fundamental issues such as the secular evolution of continental volume—but are only loosely understood. This limitation has led to a wide range of viewpoints on the efficiency of the recycling process. If, for example, 95% of continental crustal material that is ablated by subduction erosion is returned to the mantle [Scholl and von Huene, 2007], this process reduces the global continental volume at a rate of ~1.3 km3 /yr and the eroded material comes from all crustal levels. Alternatively, if crustal material removed by subduction erosion undergoes buoyancy-driven fractionation, the mafic material may return to the mantle, but the felsic material may be relaminated to the base of the crust [Hacker et al., 2011; 2015]. Our understanding of crustal recycling comes chiefly from i) geodynamic models, ii) large-scale box models that use specific isotopic systems to quantify recycling rates [Coltice et al. , 2000; Simon and Lécuyer, 2005]; iii) exposed arc rocks [Kelemen et al. , 2003; Ducea et al. , 2013], from which one can infer the magnitude and timescale of lower crustal foundering; iv) geophysical images of foundering material [Zandt & Carrigan, 1993]; and v) xenoliths, which provide snapshots of processes at depth. Among these techniques, xenoliths provide our only actual samples of the physical and chemical materials and processes involved in crustal recycling, and constitute our only way to verify or “ground truth” inferences made from geodynamic models, box models, exposed arcs, and geophysical images. For example, xenoliths provided the spectacular record of foundering of the Sierra Nevada arc lower crust and upper mantle [Ducea & Saleeby, 1996; Chin et al., 2013], and the foundation for interpreting seismic velocities as images of the recycling process [Zandt & Carrigan, 1993]. In spite of the tremendous insight that xenoliths afford our understanding of crustal recycling, basically all xenoliths from mantle depths are mafic or ultramafic—with two exceptions: one locality in the Pamir and one in Tibet. These unusual xenolith localities thus present a special opportunity to understand the chemical and physical processes that attend crustal recycling.

We propose to integrate geochemical constraints from the Pamir xenoliths with geodynamic models to address the following questions:

  • What is the timescale of recycling: how rapidly did the crust sink, metamorphose and melt?
  • How do typical continental crustal rocks reach mantle depths?
  • What mineralogical changes occur during recycling?
  • How do density and buoyancy evolve during recycling?
  • Under what circumstances can part of a typical crustal section founder?
  • To what extent does sorting occur during recycling? For example, can mafic or ultramafic rocks pull felsic rocks down into the mantle? Or do the felsic rocks always manage to escape on the way down?
  • Is crust in the process of being recycled differentiable from the surrounding mantle using seismic wavespeeds?



Brad Hacker; Andrew Kylander-Clark                             3/1/14-2/28/19                    $304,644


National Science Foundation EAR-1348003


What Causes UHT Metamorphism: Lengthscales and Timescales


Four endmember hypotheses for the cause of UHT metamorphism--subduction beneath an arc, collisional thickening + plutonism, strain heating, and extreme collisional thickening—will be tested using Ti-in-zircon, Ti-in-quartz, and Zr-in-rutile thermometry and pseudosection modeling, in conjunction with laser-ablation split-stream U/Th-Pb dates and trace elements of monazite and zircon.



Brad Hacker                                                                          9/1/14-8/31/17                    $173,765


National Science Foundation EAR-1419751


Collaborative Research: Did the Pamir gneiss domes and salient form by northward underthrusting of India or southward subduction and rollback of Asia?


The Pamir orogen is distinguished by a pronounced, northward-convex salient and a spatially extensive, orogen-parallel suite of gneiss domes. Both the salient and gneiss-dome suite are thought to have developed synchronously and largely since Miocene time. At depth, the thick crust (≥ 65 km) of the Pamir is underlain by a cold mantle lid, interpreted to be northward underthrust Indian lithosphere; it is bound in the north by a southward-dipping zone of intermediate-depth seismicity that has been attributed to intracontinental subduction of Asian lithosphere. We propose to test two end-member ‘tectonic drivers’ that may genetically link all of these features: (1) a lower-plate-driven, relatively rapid and short-lived phase of northward rollback/retreat of a southward-subducting slab of Asian lithosphere, during which the Pamir gneiss domes accommodated significant net horizontal extension (~150 km) and growth of the Pamir salient; versus (2) an upper-plate-driven, protracted northward underthrusting/indentation of Indian lithosphere, which forced vertical exhumation of Asian mid-crust above it and southward subduction of Asian lithosphere beneath it. These two end-member scenarios are not mutually exclusive in that they may have acted in concert or played varying roles in space and time. Nevertheless, they make contrasting predictions at the scale of the entire orogen that can be assessed with geologic investigations. We focus this project on testing end-member model predictions for the kinematic, metamorphic, and magmatic evolution of the gneiss domes. Our approach will integrate (i) metamorphic petrology and monazite U/Th-Pb geochronology and heavy REE analysis to quantify the history of prograde and retrograde metamorphism, (ii) geologic mapping and structural analysis to constrain the kinematics of gneiss dome exhumation; (iii) moderate- and low-temperature thermochronology to quantify the history of exhumation; and (iv) U-Pb geochronology and isotope analysis of zircon (Hf) and titanite (Nd) to quantify the history and sources of Cenozoic magmatism.



Laura Hess; John Melack; Thiago Silva                            1/14/14-1/13/19                  $529,966


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 426670-19B03


Impacts of floods and droughts on aquatic macrophytes, forests, and fisheries of central Amazonian river floodplains


The annual flood of the Amazon River is the world’s largest inundation event, flooding about 300,000 km2 for six or more months each year, with water levels reaching as high as 15 meters. This seasonal inundation connects river channels to adjacent floodplains, driving immense biological and ecological productivity. The ecosystem services derived from this floodplain system provide food and livelihoods for local people. However, climate and land-cover changes are increasing the frequency and severity of extreme climate events such as droughts and intense rain, resulting in greater variability and decreased predictability of the annual flood. This disruption may adversely affect fishery yields and floodplain vegetation productivity. Despite the importance of Amazon inundation dynamics for both ecosystem health and local livelihoods, we know relatively little about the vulnerability of these systems to changing climate and extreme events. This project will increase our understanding of the mechanisms linking basin-wide hydrology, river-floodplain connectivity, and the productivity of floodplain ecosystems by 1) quantifying the relationship between flood extent and the productivity of fisheries and floodplain vegetation and 2) modeling the effects of deforestation and extreme climatic events on inundation dynamics under historic and alternative future scenarios. This work is funded by NASA's Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science program.



Patricia Holden                                                                     1/1/15-11/30/19               $1,987,869


California Department of Water Resources 14-476-550


Microbial Source Tracking in the Santa Barbara Region


Coastal marine waters in human developments may be contaminated by fecal indicator bacteria whose presence signals fecal pollution that impinges on public health and coastal fisheries. New DNA-based technologies can assist in determining if fecal pollution is associated with human waste and thus human pathogens, or if other animal hosts or natural sources explain. Further, such technologies, if applied in a watershed context within a qualified field study design, can enable determining fecal sources, e.g. failed civil infrastructure whose repair by owners can remedy the pollution and restore water quality. To date, several beaches in the Santa Barbara area have been researched for fecal pollution since fecal indicator bacteria concentrations in coastal waters were chronically elevated. Three beaches in Santa Barbara remain a high priority as determined by the Clean Beach Initiative in CA: East Beach at Sycamore, Leadbetter Beach, and Goleta Beach. In this project, the lower watersheds of each beach will be characterized for sources of fecal pollution, including evaluating infrastructure location and age. Hypotheses will be developed regarding potential fecal sources that impinge on surf zone water quality. Hypotheses will be tested using state of the art approaches in microbial source tracking applied within a field sampling program for each beach. Results will be used to inform stakeholders, i.e. water quality and infrastructure managers in the region, regarding sources that can subsequently be remediated. This is a three year project that builds on expertise in the Holden Lab group previously demonstrated in various State of CA clean beach initiatives and in the Santa Barbara region.



Patricia Holden                                                                     11/8/16-1/31/18                    $29,999


City of Santa Barbara 21700093


Research in New Source Detection


In urban coastal zones where cities have variably aged sanitary sewer and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), untreated sewage can migrate from sanitary sewer defects through subsoil and into nearby storm drains. Such subsurface communication between these separate pipe systems threatens coastal water quality, since storm drains discharge to creeks that flow to the ocean. There is some evidence that the proximity of leaking sanitary sewers to storm drains, including where sanitary sewers cross over storm drains, may influence sanitary sewer contamination to MS4s. We previously showed this by real time studies, using rhodamine WT dye released into sanitary sewers and probing dye fluorescence continuously in a nearby storm drain coupled with sampling and analyzing for molecular evidence of human waste. In a separate study, we showed that populating a pipe leakage algorithm with GIS-based sanitary sewer system information (i.e. pipe material, diameter, and depth)—for pipes with invert depths within 3 m of the shallow groundwater table—allowed for explaining wastewater contamination in shallow groundwater as originating from leaking nearby sewers. We have further shown that this approach can be predictive of groundwater contamination. The goal of this current research is to determine if a similar GIS-based modeling approach of sanitary sewer pipe exfiltration probabilities can be adapted for predicting where storm drains might be contaminated by human fecal material entering MS4s from nearby leaking sewers. Through modeling of municipal sanitary sewer and MS4 infrastructure, this project identifies storm drains for field sampling. Up to twelve samples will be analyzed for fecal indicator bacteria, DNA-based markers of human waste, and potentially chemical markers. The broader goal of understanding which storm drains may be impacted by human fecal contamination would be addressed, thus enabling the City to employ their management approaches to remedy contamination. The overall and long-term goal of this research is to improve microbiological water quality and public health at urban beaches. In conducting this research, transferable knowledge and approaches are to be generated and disseminated via the published literature, thus contributing to the general body of knowledge in environmental management of microbiological water quality.




Patricia Holden                                                                     1/1/17-12/31/19                  $209,151


UC Irvine 2017-3429


Fighting Drought with Stormwater: From Research to Practice


In this project, researchers from the six southern California UCs will catalyze widespread adoption of natural treatment systems (in particular, biofilters) for capturing, treating, and reusing urban runoff. The faculty team will conduct collaborative research across the following themes: (1) Human and ecosystem benefits of biofilters (UCLA lead); (2) Microbial communities in biofilter sediments in relationship to nutrient and pathogen removal (UCSB lead); (3) Biofilter removal of metals and nanoparticles (UCR lead); (4) Multi-physics modeling of biofilter water budgets and treatment performance (UCI lead); (5) Tailoring biofilter hydraulics to minimize urban flood risk (UCI lead); (6) Ecosystem and human co-benefit modeling plus coordinating field sampling across five UC campuses (UCI lead); (7) Cost-benefit analyses to uncover the true value of biofilters (relative to conventional stormwater management approaches), and evaluating the effectiveness of existing economic tools to incentivize their adoption (UCSD lead); and (8) Institutional and governance barriers to biofilter adoption (UCI lead). A citizen science component, to facilitate technology information transfer beyond the borders of UC campuses, will be led out of UCLA. Because the six campuses will be utilized as experimental test beds, our project will inform UC’s aggressive systemwide water-saving goals, and leverage UC’s goal of aligning research and academics with campus operations in a functional ‘living laboratory’.


This multi-campus UC program will solve, through interdisciplinary research and education, the biophysical and social barriers that currently limit the capture, treatment, and reuse of urban runoff in Southern California. The center will focus on natural treatment systems, such as biofilters (also known as rainwater gardens) that simultaneously augment municipal water supply and provide myriad co-benefits, including: receiving water quality and ecosystem protection, flood mitigation, urban heat island mitigation, carbon sequestration, urban green space creation, and local community engagement. Our center will be unique in its tailoring of sustainable runoff harvesting and reuse to southern California’s semi-arid climate, and it will leverage a multi-million dollar NSF-funded Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project that supports an evaluation of natural treatment systems implemented in Melbourne (Australia) during their decade long Millennium Drought.



Peter Homyak; Joshua Schimel                                          6/1/17-5/31/18                      $45,000


Ford Foundation SB170159


Evaluating paradigms in phosphorus (P) biogeochemical cycling: The paradox of high P

availability in ecosystems developing on P-poor parent material


Californians, and residents in many arid regions, depend on montane ecosystems for freshwater. Environmental changes that threaten the quality of montane water supplies, therefore, have social, economic, and ecological implications. For example, because dusts can transport nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), processes increasing dust inputs to ecosystems can degrade water quality. In drought-impacted regions like California, fallow agricultural fields may serve as fertilizer-rich dust sources. Because in the Sierra Nevada Mountains—California’s principal water source—P availability drives landscape development, understanding how dusts impact these ecosystems is critical from an ecological and water management perspective. A long-held paradigm in ecosystem science postulates that while N is derived from the atmosphere, P originates from the weathering of rock, where denudation processes control P supply during ecosystem development. Over time, these processes deplete P-bearing minerals, leading to a “terminal steady state” of profound P-limitation. Paradoxically, in high-elevation ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada, shifts from P- to N-limitation and enrichment of soils and lake sediments with P suggest that over time, P availability is not decreasing—rather it is increasing. In these P-poor granite-derived systems, increasing P enhances loss to streams and lakes, lowering water quality, and may be altering the balance ecosystem C:N:P ratios. Changes in nutrient stoichiometry can affect plant and microbial activity and diversity, altering rates of primary production and organic matter decomposition. Exceptional drought covered >50% of the state with conditions expected to worsen. ( question: if rock-derived P is expected to decline over time, what mechanisms maintain P supply to both lakes and terrestrial ecosystems?



Matthew Jackson                                                                  7/1/16-6/30/19                    $299,928


National Science Foundation 1624840


Preservation of Hadean geochemical signatures in the Icelandic high 3He/4He mantle domain


Helium isotopes provide a powerful tool for tracing early-formed reservoirs in the Earth’s interior. Lavas erupted at the Baffin Island flood basalt province, which record the initiation of Icelandic hotspot volcanism at 62 Ma, host the highest know terrestrial mantle-derived 3He/4He (50 Ra, ratio to atmosphere). Mid-Miocene Icelandic lavas record the second highest 3He/4He globally (43 Ra). Unlike the Baffin Island lavas, the mid-Miocene Icelandic lavas were not emplaced through continental crust. Thus, the Icelandic lavas provide the best opportunity to evaluate the radiogenic isotopic composition of the highest 3He/4He mantle domain, free of continental assimilation.


A recent discovery identified large magnitude 182W anomalies in Baffin Island lavas with high 3He/4He (≥ 43 Ra). In the 182Hf-182W system, 182Hf decays to 182W (t1/2 = 8.9 Ma), thus all 182W/184W heterogeneity was generated during the lifetime of 182Hf (<50 Ma after accretion). Therefore, the discovery of 182W anomalies shows that early-Hadean signatures have survived for >4.5 Ga in the dynamic mantle. The preservation of Hadean 182W anomalies in the modern high 3He/4He mantle is an exciting discovery, and provides a key constraint for geodynamic models seeking to describe the time-scales over which geochemical heterogeneities are preserved in the mantle.


The discovery of Hadean-generated 182W anomalies in lavas sampling the modern (62 Ma) mantle leads to several key questions regarding the 3He/4He mantle sampled by the Icelandic hotspot: 1. Are positive 182W anomalies associated with high 3He/4He ratios in mantle-derived lavas at other localities? 2. Does a moderately high 3He/4He lava from Iceland’s neovolcanic zone, which hosts a Hadean 129Xe/130Xe signature, also preserve a Hadean 182W anomaly? 3. Do 182W anomalies exhibit relationships with He, Sr, Nd, Pb and Os isotopes? Such relationships will provide insights into the geodynamic processes that preserve 182W anomalies in the mantle.



Matthew Jackson                                                                  8/15/17-7/31/20                  $299,756


National Science Foundation 1736984


Origin of highly heterogeneous 87Sr/86Sr in melt inclusions from oceanic hotspot lavas


Whole rock geochemical analyses of ocean island basalts (OIB) have long been considered windows into the composition of the mantle. However, blebs of trapped melt in phenocrysts, called melt inclusions, complicate this picture; this is because melt inclusions from a single lava can exhibit highly heterogeneous 87Sr/86Sr ratios that span much of the variability observed in oceanic lavas globally. The origin of the isotopic diversity in melt inclusions remains a source of debate: Is it the result of mixing pristine magmas from different mantle sources, or the result of crustal assimilation? At the heart of this question is the origin of the geochemical diversity in oceanic lavas and their utility as windows into the mantle’s composition.



Matthew Jackson                                                                  8/1/14-7/31/17                      $37,702


National Science Foundation EAR-1347377


Collaborative Research: The role of oxygen fugacity in calc-alkaline differentiation and the creation of continental crust at the Aleutian arc


Geochemical exchanges between the Earth’s surface and interior at subduction zones drive major changes in magmatic composition that potentially generate Earth’s continental crust. Among the key characteristics shared by bulk continental crust and some subduction zone magmas is calc alkaline affinity, a rapid draw-down in Fe concentration early in a magma’s cooling history. Most hypotheses for explaining calc-alkaline differentiation from a primary magma invoke a combination of the effects of elevated H2O and oxygen fugacity (fO2), both of which are common in arc magmas, on the early solid phase assemblage when arc magmas begin to crystallize. The relative importance of H2O, fO2 and magmatic bulk composition in generating calc-alkaline magmas, however, remains an outstanding and important question. Moreover, although the elevated H2O contents of arc magmas are generally thought to derive from the subducted lithosphere, no such consensus has been reached for the cause of elevated fO2 in arc magmas. Contrasting models link oxidizing processes either to an oxidizing flux from the subducted plate, concomitant with (though not directly caused by) the addition of H2O, or to an oxidizing process in the overriding plate (e.g., crystallization, degassing), through which magmas pass before eruption. Resolving the key roles that H2O, fO2, and magmatic bulk composition play will have important implications for models of how Earth’s continents initially formed and have grown through time. Lavas of varying calc-alkaline affinity, from strongly calc-alkaline to mildly tholeiitic, erupt along the Aleutian arc, making it an ideal natural laboratory for constraining the petrogenesis of these magma types. This study will provide critical new constraints on the fO2 of variably calcalkaline magmas in the Aleutian arc, and explore how fO2 is linked to magmatic H2O, contributions from the subducted plate, and various differentiation processes, through the combined study of melt inclusions, whole-rocks, and petrological experiments. To do this, we will measure dissolved volatiles, Fe3+/ΣFe ratios, and isotopic signatures of melt inclusions and/or whole-rocks from the Eastern and Western Aleutians, and pair these natural studies with experimental constraints on the effects of H2O, fO2, and bulk composition on the phase equilibria of Aleutian parental magmas.




Matthew Jackson; John Cottle; Brad Hacker; Matthew Rioux; Syee Weldeab

                                                                                                9/1/14-8/31/18                    $524,244

National Science Foundation EAR-1429648


MRI: Acquisition of a Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS) for high-precision research of the Earth's mantle, crust and oceans


The Earth Science Department at UCSB has maintained a core strength in radiogenic isotope geochemistry since the 1960s, from the Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS)-based geochronology and geochemical advances of George Tilton and James Mattinson to the modern laser ablation split-stream (LASS) inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) facility currently operated in the department. Four young PIs leading this project (Jackson, Cottle, Rioux and Weldeab) were trained on modern TIMS instruments and actively utilize TIMS-based measurements in their current NSF-funded research; the students and post-docs of PI Hacker also make extensive use of TIMS in their research. However, a modern functioning TIMS is lacking at UCSB. This project will replace the 30-year-old MAT261 TIMS at UCSB to enhance the success of the research programs of the PIs and their ability to teach and mentor graduate and undergraduate students. The arrival of the new instrument will coincide with the completion of a state-of-the-art, metal-free clean lab built as part of PI Jackson’s start-up. The new TIMS facility at UCSB will: 1) enable new fields of discovery by opening up new analytical avenues for research (e.g. ultra-precise 142Nd/144Nd, precise analyses of sub-nanogram quantities of Sr and Nd isotopes, and high-precision U/Pb ages on (sub-) single zircons); 2) transform UCSB’s analytical capabilities, permitting development of cutting edge new analytical techniques that combine high precision TIMS with in situ isotopic and elemental analyses using the laser ablation multi-collector (LA-MC)-ICP-MS and electron-probe microanalyzer (EPMA); and 3) carry the excitement for research and discovery in analytical geoscience to the next generation of researchers and teachers. The new TIMS at UCSB will enable transformative research in studies of the Earth’s crust, mantle and oceans.



Matthew Jackson                                                                  3/15/17-8/31/17                    $24,770


University Corp For Atmospheric Research - UCAR Z17-28065


Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program


Two major components of the NOAA OER mission are to prepare for and execute multidisciplinary scientific expeditions that integrate exploration, education, and outreach objectives, and to ensure that deliverables from these expeditions are generated and distributed. EX conducts expeditions that execute a new paradigm for systematic ocean exploration utilizing telepresence technology installed aboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer (EX), a concept referred to as "remote science". One of the vessel's key capabilities is utilizing telepresence to engage scientists ashore. Through telepresence, scientists will participate from Exploration Command Centers on shore in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Silver Spring, and other remote locations using internet and telephone access. These scientists will monitor and guide the operations of the ship's technical team to accomplish mission objectives.



Arturo Keller                                                                         8/1/17-7/31/18                      $25,000


National Science Foundation 1748352


Sustainable Nanotechnology Conference


The Sustainable Nanotechnology Conference will be held in November 5 - 7, 2017 in Marina del Rey, California, supported in part by National Science Foundation resources. The 2017 conference will cover the following topics: Green Synthesis, Life Cycle Assessment, Water Treatment, Fate and Exposure, Nanotoxicology, Sensors & Measurement, Education and Social Aspects, and Food & Agriculture. All of these topics will address the sustainable use of nanotechnology to achieve societal goals.



Arturo Keller; Patricia Holden; Hunter Lenihan; Galen Stucky; Joshua Schimel; Roger Nisbet; Sangwon Suh; Robert Miller; Barbara Harthorn

                                                                                                9/1/13-8/31/19                 $5,384,336

National Science Foundation SB140059


CEIN (2013-2018) Predictive Toxicological Assessment and Safe Implementation of Nanotechnology in the Environment


The UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN) studies the effects of nanomaterials on a range of biological systems in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. From this research, the UC CEIN will design a comprehensive risk-ranking model, based on the potential toxicity, mobility, and persistence of the nanomaterials. With the rapid development of nanotechnology, little is known about the possible environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanomaterials. UC CEIN research is primarily conducted at UC Los Angeles and UC Santa Barbara, with several important partner institutions. Within the UC CEIN, UCSB takes the lead on fate and transport, ecotoxicological, and risk perception studies, collaborating primarily with researchers at UCLA, UC Davis, UC Riverside, University of Texas at El Paso, Columbia University, and University of British Columbia.



Edward Keller; Daniel Morel                                              5/1/17-6/30/18                        $2,840


Evolving Earth Foundation SB170164


Chronology and Deformation of the Gaviota Coast near Santa Barbara, California


The main goal of this research project is to resolve the terrace chronology across the SBSYF. OSL is an ideal geochronometer for this study for a number of reasons. Fossil corals on the Gaviota Coast are sparse, making U-series dating impractical. There are occasional mollusk shell beds, but radiocarbon dating cannot be relied upon completely because the terrace ages may be beyond the upper limits of radiocarbon dating (~45-50 ka without isotopic enrichment; Walker, 2005). West of the SBSYF, this is almost certainly the case. Fortunately, marine terrace quartz sands are abundant and have ideal characteristics for OSL dating, i.e. a depositional environment and texture (fine-medium grain size, well-sorted) that suggest a high degree of bleaching (Nelson et al., 2015). These characteristics mitigate potential concerns with OSL dating. Moreover, local terrace sands have been shown to be amenable to OSL (Gurrola et al., 2014), further affirming the method’s utility in this coastal setting. Lastly, the upper limits (~150-200 ka depending on dose rate) and resolution of OSL (± 5-10%; Rhodes, 2011) are sufficient to date and distinguish between the expected terrace ages of ~45 ka and ~80 ka.



Gary Libecap; Christopher Costello; Andrew Plantinga; Olivier Deschenes; Paulina Oliva Vallejo; Kyle Meng    1/1/15-12/31/17                                                                                                $283,780


UC Office of the President MR-15-328650


Legal Economic Data and Analysis of Environmental Markets


New initiatives in environmental and natural resource management are based on property rights that assign resource ownership directly or use rights in specified ways. This rights-based approach can be more effective than traditional regulation. Rights-based management helps California meet environmental goals in innovative ways, and joint legal/economics analysis of such approaches places the University of California at the forefront of new environmental approaches. Establishing property rights is necessary for markets that create incentives and facilitate transactions to enhance resource value and provide environmental quality. Examples are individual transferable quotas in fisheries, tradable development rights and mitigation banks in land use, habitat credits for endangered species, water rights and water quality trading, and conservation banking for ecosystem protection. Knowledge of how these rights must be structured and how the resulting markets function to achieve environmental and other goals is incomplete. Comprehensive empirical research requires information bases that have not been assembled. We propose a Planning Award for this research infrastructure through efforts by scholars in economics and law and to make it available to the UC System and California. Legal scholarship is needed for understanding which aspects of property rights enable transactions, for showing how legal institutions affect creation of property rights, and for identifying how uncertainty, monitoring problems and asymmetric information are addressed. Economics scholarship is needed to understand how property rights affect incentives, resource use and social value. This project consists of economists and law faculty in the UC System. This Planning Award project has the goal of defining research agendas and assembling data bases on property rights and market transactions to solve environmental problems. These databases would include registries of transactions for use rights associated with fisheries, water, and land. Ultimately, we will use the data assembled by the Planning Award for drafting a Program Award for collaborative efforts in empirical research aimed at understanding why property rights can be used in some situations but not in others, and why markets arise easily and function smoothly in some environmental resource settings, but not for others. California policy questions motivate the databases compiled, including over-exploitation of fisheries, inefficiencies in water use, conservation of endangered species, and ecosystem protection.



Stéphane Maritorena                                                            8/12/15-9/30/19                  $144,592


Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Inc. 154444UCSB


CORAL: COral Reef Airborne Laboratory


UCSB will contribute to the development, implementation and refinement of the benthic production and calcification algorithms. In addition, UCSB will participate in several Productivity and Calcification field experiments and will perform validation analyses of the Level-4 data products (Production and Calcification). Specifically, this work includes: 1) the conception and implementation of the benthic production and calcification algorithms and the associated processing flows; 2) the benthic community productivity and calcification field experiments in Key West and Guam; 3) the benthic community productivity and calcification field experiments in Hawaii and Moorea; 4) the comparison of the production and calcification in situ measurements with the products derived from the PRISM measurements; 5) performing individual and/or collaborative data analyses to address the project objectives; 6) refinement and modification of the production and calcification algorithms and processing flows as dictated by the comparison analyses.



Stéphane Maritorena; David Siegel                                    5/15/13-5/14/18                  $956,638


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX13AK22A


Creating Unified Ocean Color Data Records with Uncertainties


The generation of unified satellite data records through the merging of ocean color data from multiple sensors has proven beneficial to the science users community at various levels. First, merged products offer improved coverage of the ocean at daily to monthly time scales, which reduces the uncertainties in estimates derived from those products for both local and global studies. Second, merged data products often have lower uncertainties than the same product from any single sensor. Last, data merging has also proven a powerful tool to identify inconsistencies among the different data sources or issues with the sensors’ radiometry. In all, data merging benefits both the ocean color and biogeochemistry science that uses its data and the inter-sensors calibration/validation activities. Here, we propose to continue the development of unified and coherent ocean color time series through the merging of data from multiple sensors. We will continue the development of merged ocean color products from the GSM semi-analytical model. This model merges data at the Remote sensing reflectance level and derives several biogeochemically relevant data products simultaneously along with uncertainty estimates at each pixel. In addition, we will also generate merged products from higher level data (e.g. chlorophyll-a concentration) as such products are no longer available to the science community. We will also develop new merged ocean color products. In particular, we will develop a merged remote sensing reflectance product that will allow users to work with a data set with improved spectral resolution and lower uncertainties. Last, uncertainty estimates for all merged products will be generated on a pixel-by-pixel basis. All products and uncertainty estimates will be validated through matchup analyses. The merged records will cover the time span over which multiple ocean color sensors are or will be available (SeaWiFS, MODIS, MERIS, VIIRS, OLCI,…). Both global (9-4 km resolution from level-3 data) and regional (1-4 km resolution from level-2 data) merged products will be developed.



Stéphane Maritorena; David Siegel                                    11/25/14-11/24/18              $364,386


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX15AC65G


How useful will the PACE UV bands be for IOP retrievals and atmospheric correction?


Several prospective ocean color sensors such as PACE will have spectral bands in the UV in addition to those in the visible and those designed for atmospheric correction in the NIR and SWIR regions. The expected usefulness of the UV bands for ocean color sensors is two-fold: 1) they should allow a better discrimination between phytoplankton and CDOM -through their inherent optical properties, IOPS-in the ocean and 2) they can help in the atmospheric correction when absorbing aerosols are present. They PACE UV bands are expected to help mostly in coastal and turbid waters where both high amounts of CDOM and the presence of absorbing aerosols are frequent. Because both CDOM and absorbing aerosol show increased absorption toward short wavelengths, confounding effects may limit the ability of the UV bands to discern the role of CDOM and aerosols in the remote sensing signal. Here, we propose to test the use of the PACE UV bands for both IOP retrievals and atmospheric correction. We will test the performance of a semi-analytic ocean color algorithm (an upgraded version of the GSM model) for the retrieval of IOPs using available in situ data that cover the UV and visible domains. Using simulated data, we will also test how perturbations in the NIR and SWIR atmospheric bands affect the spectral IOP retrievals (from UV to the green wavelengths). Last, we will test if the UV bands can be used to better constrain the aerosol path radiance and improve atmospheric correction. Some of these analyses will also be considered with the HICO data.



Robin Matoza                                                                        8/1/15-7/31/19                    $220,000


National Science Foundation 1446543


Characterizing fault zones at Kilauea & Mauna Loa volcanoes by large-scale mapping of earthquake stress drops and focal mechanisms


The analysis and interpretation of seismic sources from within Earth’s mantle up to the surface plays a key role in understanding how volcanoes work. Hawaii Island is one of the most tectonically, volcanically, and seismically active regions on Earth. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) operates a seismic network that has recorded over 260,000 earthquakes since 1986, but this rich dataset has not been fully exploited. This project supports collaboration between HVO and U.C. San Diego to apply a number of new large-dataset processing methods to learn more about seismic activity on Hawaii and its relationship to faults and volcanoes. It also supports the educational program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and U.C. San Diego by providing funds for graduate student support. The results from this study are expected to yield a sharper and more comprehensive view of fault zone characteristics as well as generate public databases of high-resolution information on seismicity characteristics, suitable for other researchers in their studies of Hawaiian geology, tectonics, and volcanism. This research will lead to improved descriptions of seismicity and tectonics for Hawaii, which will improve our ability to monitor and characterize volcanic and earthquake hazards.


By performing systematic and comprehensive analyses of seismicity recorded by HVO, this work will improve earthquake location precision, provide robust estimates of the patterns of earthquake stress drops, and compute more reliable earthquake focal mechanisms on Hawaii. Integrating these results will better characterize crustal and mantle fault zones and magma conduits in and around Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, and will help to resolve the relationships between seismicity, volcanic activity, and strain transients. Our results will address the following questions: (1) Relocated microearthquakes in Hawaii align along resolvable fault and conduit structures—what do these structures reveal about tectonic and volcanic processes? (2) What is the origin of recently discovered seismicity rings in Hawaii? (3) How do the stress drops of Hawaiian earthquakes compare to other regions? Are there variations in earthquake stress drops that can be used to characterize stress field heterogeneity and identify regions of stress concentration? (4) Can focal mechanisms be improved for small earthquakes in Hawaii and what do they reveal about the faulting process and stress state? (5) Can repeating earthquakes with nearly identical waveforms be used to resolve temporal variations in seismic velocity associated with tectonic and volcanic activity? (6) How do the characteristics of long-period (LP, 0.5-5 Hz) seismicity at Kilauea volcano relate to redistributions of magma and stress within its magma supply system?



Robin Matoza                                                                        6/1/16-5/31/19                    $261,778


National Science Foundation 1614855


Collaborative Research: Quantifying explosive volcanism in Alaska using seismo-acoustic wavefields recorded by USArray


Alaska is home to 130 potentially active volcanoes, of which more than 50 have been active in historical times. On average 2 volcanoes are in a state of eruption every year. Volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska Peninsula, and Cook Inlet are capable of sudden, explosive, ash-cloud forming eruptions, which are potentially hazardous to passenger and freight aircraft along this heavily travelled air corridor. Many of Alaska’s volcanoes are in remote locations with harsh environments. Monitoring these volcanoes represents a formidable challenge and many of the volcanoes are not instrumented. Infrasound (acoustic waves with frequencies below the 20 Hz hearing threshold of the human ear) is a rapidly developing technology to understand and monitor explosive volcanic eruptions. Modest-sized explosive eruptions produce powerful infrasound signals that propagate efficiently over thousands of kilometers in the atmosphere. However, to date, these signals have been recorded by sparse infrasound sensor networks, limiting our understanding of their source generation and propagation through the atmosphere. The EarthScope Transportable Array (TA) is currently being deployed in Alaska, bringing the densest ever combined seismic and infrasonic network to one of the world’s most active volcanic regions. Exploiting this novel dataset, this project will advance the capability of acoustic early warning systems of volcanic eruptions for aviation safety and will assess the potential contribution of large sensor networks such as the TA to volcano monitoring. At the end of the project, an operational volcano-acoustic monitoring system resulting from this work will be implemented at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.


This work will capitalize on the unprecedented seismo-acoustic dataset starting to become available as the TA records Alaska’s routine explosive volcanism with dense spatial wavefield sampling. Volcano seismo-acoustics is a rapidly advancing research field, where basic questions remain on the source mechanisms, source directionality, atmospheric propagation, and seismo-acoustic coupling from explosive volcanic eruptions. This project will focus on detection, discrimination, and location of the signals using novel methods; quantifying the seismo-acoustic wavefield; investigating the source mechanisms; quantifying seismo-acoustic wave coupling; and understanding infrasound propagation in the spatio-temporally varying atmosphere. Through a combination of data analysis and modeling, we will characterize and quantify diverse seismic and infrasonic signals recorded at a range of distances and directions from the explosive eruption source. We will address the following questions: (1) How do observed acoustic and seismic signals from explosive volcanic eruptions vary with distance and azimuth to the source? (2) How does acoustic propagation differ for various types of explosive eruptions? (3) What kind of volcanic source information can be determined from long-range seismo-acoustic data? (4) What are the wavefield sampling limitations in previous volcano infrasound studies? (5) What other infrasound sources are present in Alaska? Our team will work with the EarthScope National Office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to help highlight this research and its impacts. Multi-media products illustrating seismo-acoustic wavefields from volcanic eruptions in Alaska will be distributed via the web for use in public information packets and education and outreach. Event catalogs and related data products will be publically available, with notable infrasound events uploaded to the IRIS TA Infrasound Reference Event Database (TAIRED).



Robin Matoza                                                                        3/1/17-2/29/20                    $290,000


National Science Foundation 1620576


Investigating the seismic signatures of volcanic unrest and eruption: Spatiotemporal distribution and source origin of tiny long-period seismicity


Seismicity generated during volcanic unrest and eruption plays a central role in our understanding of how volcanoes work. Long-period (LP, 0.5-5 Hz) seismicity, a particular type of volcanic seismicity, is used routinely by volcano monitoring scientists to forecast and assess eruptions and mitigate hazards, but its source origin remains controversial. This project will perform detailed investigations into the origin of an intriguing and largely overlooked additional type of volcanic seismicity: numerous tiny-amplitude LPs (LP subevents) that accompany the regular LPs. Tiny LP subevents have apparently been recorded at multiple volcanoes worldwide, but their origin remains mysterious. Millions of tiny LP subevents were exceptionally well recorded by a dense seismic network during the 2004-2008 eruption of Mount St. Helens (MSH), but were not cataloged or analyzed. These LP subevents contain rich, unexploited information that has the potential to better elucidate the processes generating volcanic seismicity. This project will utilize novel computationally intensive processing methods adapted from studying regional seismicity in Southern California and Hawaii. This research will map the spatiotemporal distribution and source mechanisms of millions of tiny LP subevents to high precision and determine their relation to other volcanic seismicity and eruptive activity. The primary dataset is from MSH, but additional datasets from Mammoth Mountain, CA, Kilauea Volcano, HI, and other volcanoes will be exploited for comparative analyses and hypothesis testing across multiple volcanic systems.



Douglas McCauley                                                                10/1/17-9/30/18                    $20,200


National Geographic Society WW-151R-17


Deploying next-generation remote sensing technologies to understand collective behavior in animal groups at multiple scales


Animal aggregations provide some of the most visually compelling examples of biological self-organization in the natural world. From a school of anchovies avoiding a shark to a swarm of locusts engulfing a cornfield, these impressive displays afford a unique opportunity to directly observe fundamental ecological processes in real time. While the biology of aggregating behaviors is relatively well studied in model species of small animals (e.g., minnows, locusts), the challenge of observing groups of large bodied animals in the wild has hindered our understanding of this most basic phenomenon in ecosystems worldwide. However, recent advancements in remote sensing technologies like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and very high-resolution satellite imagery (VHRS) have opened up exciting new pathways for studying aggregating behaviors of large vertebrates in situ and at unprecedented spatial scales. We propose to use novel remote sensing technology and automated image analysis to experimentally test the ecological causes of aggregation behaviors in migratory wildebeest in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem of Tanzania. Specifically, we aim to identify the social and environmental processes that give rise to the spatial patterns observed in wildebeest herds across the landscape. By establishing this link, we hope to advance our understanding of the ecology of collective decision making in animals and provide conservation partners in Tanzania with a new methodological framework for remotely monitoring the behavior of large, mobile species across this flagship ecosystem.



John Melack; Sally MacIntyre                                            5/3/17-5/2/20                      $503,187


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX17AK49G


Methane fluxes from tropical aquatic systems: Integration of measurements, hydrological and biogeochemical models and remote sensing


Tropical aquatic systems, including floodplains and other wetlands, lakes and rivers, are major sources of methane to the atmosphere. The considerable uncertainty about the estimated fluxes of methane stems from the large seasonal and inter-annual variations in ecological conditions and inundation typical of floodplains and other wetlands. In this proposed project, we will combine results from our field measurements, hydrological simulations and advances in remote sensing to develop mechanistic models that couple floodplain inundation dynamics to the production and emission of methane. Our work will quantify and reduce uncertainty associated with estimates of methane fluxes and expand understanding of their temporal and spatial variability. Our results will provide necessary inputs to regional atmospheric models of methane fluxes derived from airborne campaigns and satellite retrievals, and provide key improvements in the tropics for models applied globally. Among tropical river systems, the Amazon basin is the largest and has the most extensive floodplains. Hence, our analyses will focus on aquatic systems in the Amazon basin, and be extended to tropical systems elsewhere based on modeling and remote sensing. Remote sensing of inundation and vegetative dynamics will be combined with recent results from in situ measurements of methane fluxes, related physical processes and hydrological models to provide regional estimates of methane fluxes. We will utilize existing datasets complemented by focused field studies to develop and validate a model of methane evasion tailored to tropical aquatic systems with strong seasonal and inter-annual variations in inundation, water depths and vegetative cover.



John Melack                                                                          9/1/12-8/31/18                    $182,476


National Science Foundation DEB-1242594


LTREB Renewal-Collaborative Research: Responses of High Elevation, Aquatic Ecosystems to Interannual Climate Variability


Three decades of investigation of high-elevation Emerald Lake and neighboring lakes and watersheds in the Sierra Nevada (California) have transformed our understanding of how interannual changes in snowmelt and rates of atmospheric deposition have modified the timing and magnitude of hydrological and chemical fluxes, and thereby modulate the ecology of high elevation ecosystems. Experiments, both in the field and laboratory, have added mechanistic understanding of biogeochemical processes of Sierran lakes and watersheds. Comparative studies of biological and hydrochemical aspects of lakes, conducted from 1982 to the present, provide a regional context for examination of Sierra-wide conditions and responses to global change. Recent paleo-investigations at Emerald Lake and companion lakes have provided a multi-century context for the 31-year dataset from Emerald Lake. In our LTREB renewal, we propose to complete our decadal research plan to test the hypothesis that altered climate, changing snow regime and changes in atmospheric composition are driving biogeochemical and ecological changes in high elevation ecosystems. We propose to continue long-term study of the Emerald Lake watershed, Tokopah Valley and nearby catchments in order to test conceptual hypotheses regarding drivers of environmental change in high-elevation aquatic ecosystems. The primary foci of the proposed study are: i) continued assessment of the response of lake phytoplankton to changing atmospheric deposition and ii) continued study of the coupling between climate variability and N and P biogeochemistry. These questions will be answered through the continuation of on-going watershed measurements; additional study of lake metabolism; enhanced measurements of atmospheric deposition; and paleolimnological study of lake sediments. Climate conditions have a strong influence on potential N&P source areas, on the incidence of fires, on transport and deposition, and lake ecology. Hence, as a consequence of the considerable interannual variability in California’s Mediterranean climate, it is essential to conduct these studies for at least ten years.



John Melack; Sally MacIntyre                                            7/1/18-6/30/21                    $564,136


National Science Foundation, 1753856


Aquatic metabolism and carbon dioxide flux: Linking physical and biological processes in Amazon floodplains


Recent syntheses of carbon processing and evasion of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in inland aquatic ecosystems have revealed the disproportionately large contribution, relative to their area, that these ecosystems make to carbon cycling. Tropical systems are under-represented in these analyses, and floodplains are often the largest aquatic ecosystem in these regions. Among tropical river systems, the Amazon basin is the largest and has extensive floodplains. To advance understanding of carbon cycling within the Amazon, we will combine data on CO2 and O2 concentrations from representative habitats, air-water fluxes, and aquatic plant inputs of carbon with interpretation extended via new measurements of hydrodynamics and remote sensing.




John Melack                                                                          9/1/13-8/31/18                    $411,216


Pennsylvania State University 4916-USB-DOE-0620


Scale-aware, Improved Hydrological and Biogeochemical Simulations of the Amazon Under a Changing Climate


About 20% of the Amazon basin is seasonally inundated, and these wetlands are sites of intense biological activity that can have a strong influence on the regional carbon dynamics. Understanding the effects of these dynamics on air water exchanges of CO2 and CH4 is of critical importance if we are to estimate the net contribution of Amazon wetlands to greenhouse gas emissions. To quantify this influence it will be necessary to improve estimates of the fluxes and balance of carbon, incorporating the principal sources of spatial and temporal variability and developing numerical models to simulate and integrate their effects. To do so, we propose to combine hydrological and biogeochemical modeling with analysis of existing data.


The overarching question of our proposed research is: How do the overall CO2 and CH4 cycles and carbon pools in the Amazon, including catchment and aquatic systems, respond to the changing climate, especially significant changes in the water cycle? To address this question, the UCSB aspect of the proposed research will enhance the modeling capabilities of Community Land Model by adding an aquatic ecosystem module that includes multi-scale carbon and methane biogeochemistry.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            1/1/16-12/31/18                  $997,095


Cal Department of Fish and Wildlife P1696006


North Campus Open Space Coastal Wetland Restoration Project


The full North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Restoration Project will restore 90 acres of diverse coastal habitat that will provide important ecological and hydrological benefits to Santa Barbara County through excavation of 350,000 cy of fill from the former extent of Devereux Slough on property owned by the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and restoration of diverse habitats and estuarine processes which will provide multiple benefits (Figures 1 & 2 Location maps, Figure 3 a& b Restoration Plans). These include reduction in flood risk to habitats and property currently within 100 year flood zone and vulnerable to projections for 3 feet of sea level rise, provision of long-term support for diverse threatened and endangered species, improvements in water quality, greenhouse gas sequestration and the provision of educational and public access benefits for students and members of Isla Vista, a disadvantaged community in Santa Barbara County.

Funds will support the implementation of the majority of the wetland-related restoration components of the full project. CDFW Proposition 1 grant funds will specifically fund the: a) removal of approximately 40,000 cy of the 300,000 cy that will be removed with other, secured funding, b) implementation of fine grading and restoration actions to support the conservation of 18 acres salt marsh habitat in the face of sea level rise, and 3) construction and restoration of habitat features in support of federally endangered tidewater goby, migratory shorebirds and special status birds and plants. The project’s impact will be expanded through monitoring and reporting to EcoAtlas and interpretive signage that will complement public access components of the larger project.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            1/19/17-11/1/20               $2,449,000


Cal Department of Transportation 05-6300F15


UC Santa Barbara, North Campus Open Space Multi-Modal Trail Project


The project site is on a 64-acre property donated to the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) by the Trust for Public Land on 04/30/2013 to restore the site and incorporate public access through trail installations. UCSB supports the establishment of multi-modal public trails on the site, but has no dedicated resources for this development. Through an ongoing community-based planning process, it became clear that the community has a strong desire for trails and public access across the land for wildlife and open space appreciation and passive recreation, including walking, cycling, jogging, and as a safe route to school. With funding from the Active Transportation Program, the trail would provide both educational opportunities and access to bus stops, public schools and UCSB, and to trails located on Ellwood Mesa and other portions of the adjacent 652-acre preserve (part of the Ellwood Devereux Open Space).



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton; Jennifer King                  6/30/15-3/1/20                    $999,989


California Department of Fish and Wildlife P1496006


North Campus Open Space Wetlands Restoration


The North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Wetlands Restoration Project Phase 1 will restore 34 acres of diverse coastal wetlands and 20 acres of upland habitat in coastal Santa Barbara County. The project is projected to sequester 549 metric tons (t) of carbon over the first 100 years of establishment and to contribute to the science of quantifying the greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration potential of intermittently tidal coastal estuary systems through a research and monitoring program. Anticipated fish and wildlife co-benefits include supporting recovery plan recommendations for federal and state threatened and endangered species by providing expanded and improved habitat for the Tidewater Goby (TWG), Western Snowy Plover, California Least Tern, California Red-legged Frog, Ventura Marsh Milk Vetch and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow. In addition, expanded habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl and resident wetland and upland bird species will be created. Ecosystem benefits include reducing localized flooding problems and disturbance associated with flood control management activities, improving downstream water quality through expansion of wetlands and bioswale systems within the urban to wetland interface, and supporting expanded carbon sequestration, denitrification and other microbial processes. Educational benefits from this project are significant because of its location on the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus with its rotating student body of 20,000 students, active academic research, and hands-on restoration implementation and training program run by the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER). In addition, the project site borders a relatively dense urban area (City of Goleta and the community of Isla Vista) and 652 acres of recently protected coastal open space. A trail system will be developed through the restoration project site which will connect the community to the recreational amenities of this protected open space and the beach.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            5/1/17-1/1/21                      $350,000


California Natural Resources Agency E13613-0


North Campus Open Space Coastal Habitat Enhancement Program


The North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Coastal Habitat Enhancement Project, located in Santa Barbara County adjacent to the City of Goleta and within University of California’s campus, is the third phase of a larger project to restore 136 acres of degraded coastal habitats through excavation of 350,000 cubic yards of fill from a former golf course created in 1965 when soil from adjacent uplands were bulldozed into an estuary. The full NCOS project will provide hydrologic and tidal connectivity to Devereux Slough and its tidewater gobies by restoring the former upper arms of this estuary and the adjacent historic coastal terrace landform. More than 40 acres of wetland and 60 acres of upland and transitional habitat will be actively restored on the graded landforms and another 36 acres of habitat will be protected and enhanced through active invasive species control and enhancement planting. EEM funds are for the fourth phase of the larger North Campus Open Space project representing 20 acres of degraded habitat to be enhanced with weed control and selective planting adjacent to the re-created coastal terrace restoration area.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            5/1/15-12/31/18               $1,000,000


California Natural Resources Agency U59316-0


North Campus Open Space Restoration


The North Campus Open Space Restoration Project will restore nearly 50 acres of coastal wetland and approximately 50 acres of upland habitat that will provide an important community green space to this densely populated area. The trails and boardwalks to be created will invite people to intimately experience a unique, seasonally variable wetland ecosystem and provide connectivity between residential areas, schools, commercial areas, and adjacent coastal open space. This project will restore the hydrologic function lost in 1965 when nearly 500,000 cubic yards of soil were moved from adjacent uplands into a once functioning estuarine system. Opportunities to work on this scale in developed southern California cities are very limited, and this project provides an unprecedented local opportunity in a region that has lost more than 80% of its coastal wetlands and has experienced a significant loss of public access to open space areas. By restoring a natural system, this project will improve water quality, increase flood capacity, support wildlife and enhance regional adaptation to projected sea level rise by providing room for the migration of habitats.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            9/1/16-8/31/19                 $1,000,000


California Ocean Protection Council P01-1-07


North Campus Open Space Coastal Wetland Restoration


The North Campus Open Space Restoration Project is a project to restore 90 acres of degraded cut and fill areas, including the former Ocean Meadows Golf Course, to a matrix of estuarine, palustrine, transitional and upland habitats characteristic of the Devereux Slough ecosystem through excavation of fill from the former upper arms of Devereux slough. The property to be restored is located on UCSB campus, adjacent to the main campus and immediately north of UCSB’s Coal Oil Point Reserve. The project site encompasses the interface of four tributaries to the Devereux Slough, and is south of the City of Goleta.


The larger project will return the channelized Devereux Creek to an estuary and restore the 64 acre invasive plant-dominated former private golf course to wetland and upland habitat. It will provide stormwater capture and flood control benefits, expanded rare species and migratory bird habitat, and create 1.2 miles of trail connecting adjacent residential neighborhoods and the protected lands to the California Coastal Trail. This grant will fund a portion of the second phase of the project, specifically restore 8 acres of wetland and transitional habitat along the western side of the restored estuary.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            7/27/16-6/30/20               $3,820,000


California Wildlife Conservation Board WC-1589DC


Upper Devereux Slough Restoration


The Wildlife Conservation Board grant for the Upper Devereux Slough Restoration will support restoration of portions of the historic northern extent of the Devereux Slough primarily on the former Ocean Meadows golf course property and adjacent borrow site (South Parcel) that will expand slough, wetland, transitional and upland habitats (Project) on approximately 136 acres of land commonly known as the North Campus Open Space, located in Santa Barbara County, California. Project supports grading, restoration and project management components of the project.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            12/21/15-6/30/20                $923,718


Land Trust for Santa Barbara County SB160090


North Campus Open Space Devereux Creek Flood Plain Restoration Project


In coastal Santa Barbara County a 60+-acre floodplain at the junction of Devereux and Phelps Creeks was filled with soil from the adjacent uplands in 1965 to create a golf course that left the creek in a narrow, channelized form, added 3-10 feet of fill and significantly reduced habitat for fish and wildlife, including the endangered tidewater goby. These impacts remain and contribute to localized flooding problems for Goleta City residents living adjacent to these creeks. The proposed project (Phase 1) will reverse these impacts by removing approximately 250,000 cubic yards (cy) of fill from the floodplain of these creeks (DWR funds support removal of 150,000 of the 250,000cy in the project). The project will provide flood control benefits to the residents living north and east of the project site, restore and protect riparian and diverse wetland and upland habitats by connecting the creek to the downstream estuary, thereby providing wildlife habitat for migratory and resident bird species, and estuarine fish, including the Tidewater Goby, Western Snowy Plover, and Belding's Savannah Sparrow which have been identified by federal and state governments as threatened or endangered. The project will also promote community involvement through public access trails and restoration activities, as well as educational programs and signage, that will benefit a rotating population of UC Santa Barbara students and community members for years to come.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            1/1/17-12/31/41                    $29,900


Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project 16-051


Whittier Channel Restoration


Restore 1.25 acres of wetland and riparian habitat with community volunteers in partnership with Kids in Nature II, Your Children’s Trees, Department of Water Resources, and the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.  We anticipate hosting: 6 school field trips (35 students/event), 6 weekend planting events, (10 to

30 participants), 3 volunteer tree planting events (20 per event), 30 morning greenhouse volunteer events (1 – 6 volunteers/event), 3 Birding/Educational Tours (20-30 participants), for a total of approximately 600 people participating. 



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            5/27/14-3/31/18                  $869,300


State Coastal Conservancy 13-115


North Campus Open Space Restoration (previously named Upper Deveroux Slough) Project Planning Phase, UCSB


This work is associated with initial planning phase for the restoration of upper Devereux Slough in the area formerly used as Ocean Meadows Golf Course (63.8 acres) and adjacent open space area known as South Parcel (68 acres). The project involves interim management, planning including preliminary design, technical studies, environmental compliance documents, permitting and commencement of seed collection and propagation. Together the project area is part of the newly named North Campus Open Space (NCOS). The UC Regents, through UCSB and its partner The Trust for Public Land (TPL) will direct the planning phase for the Project.


The planning work will support the restoration goals of the project:

1) restore estuarine function to the upper arms of Devereux Slough by creating a diversity of wetland habitats (sub-tidal, mudflats, salt marsh, transitional freshwater marsh); 2) re-create a diverse set of upland habitats and vernal wetlands by returning a significant portion of the fill soil from the excavation of the slough arms to South Parcel; and 3) design a public access component of trails and, potentially, boardwalks which will connect to local and regional trail networks in adjacent open spaces. Benefits of the project include reduced localized flooding and enhanced habitat quality for threatened and endangered species currently or potentially using the area. These species include tidewater goby, western snowy plover, California least tern, California red-legged frog, Ventura marsh milk vetch and multiple species of special concern such as White-tailed Kite.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            5/27/15-3/31/18                  $650,000


State Coastal Conservancy 13-115


North Campus Open Space Restoration (previously named Upper Devereux Slough) Project Planning Phase, UCSB


This award is associated with the planning phase for the restoration of North Campus Open Space in the area formerly used as Ocean Meadows Golf Course (63.8 acres), and the adjacent open space areas known as South Parcel (68 acres) and Whittier Parcel (3.7 acres). The project involves interim management, seed collection, and environmental planning. Environmental planning includes technical studies to support the preliminary design, environmental compliance documents (including existing conditions report, CEQA and NEPA documents), and technical work supporting permitting requirements.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            1/1/17-12/31/21                  $980,000


State Coastal Conservancy 16-044


North Campus Open Space Vernal Pool Complex Restoration Project


This project supports restoration of 12 acres of rare wetland and upland habitat on the University of California, Santa Barbara's (UCSB's) South Parcel, including a 6-acre vernal pool complex, back dune swale, vernal marsh and salt marsh wetland habitats. The project site is adjacent to Devereux Slough within UCSB's North Campus Open Space (NCOS), part of the protected, 652-acre Ellwood Devereux coastal open space area. Historically, the upper Devereux Slough contained significant wetland values with both palustrine and estuarine habitat types and supported more than half of the coastal wetlands within the slough system. In 1965, wetlands in the upper slough were filled to create the Ocean Meadows golf course. Up to 500,000 cubic yards of soil were moved from adjacent lands causing severe degradation of the borrow sites and raising the elevation of the lower estuary between four and 10 feet. Filling reduced the flood capacity of the wetland, and significantly reduced habitat for estuarine and palustrine dependent wildlife, including fish, birds, insects and mammals of concern (Campopiano et. al, 2000). In 2011 and 2013, the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) received two NCWCP grants for a total of $2 million; $500,000 for the acquisition of the Ocean Meadows/Upper Devereux Slough that occurred in 2013, and $1.5 million towards restoration of that wetland to its historic status. The restoration portions of those grants have been combined to fund a portion of Phase 1a of the larger restoration vision for this estuary. This project is for Phase 1b (12 acres), which forms an integrated and integral part of the larger project.



Joel Michaelsen; Lisa Stratton                                            1/1/17-12/31/41               $1,203,126


State Coastal Conservancy 16-051


North Campus Open Space Wetland Transition


The goal of the project is to restore 12 acres of salt marsh and transitional habitat along the wetland side of the 1 mile long primary trail through the estuary. This area will be used for construction work through the project and a grant focused on specifically restoring this edge is vital to the final functionality and aesthetics of the restoration project. This zone will be part of the SLR transition zone and the challenging wetland to upland fringe that is the most challenging to restore.



Kristin Morell                                                                        4/15/18-3/31/21                  $285,581


National Science Foundation 1756943


Collaborative Research: Permanent forearc strain partitioning in Northern Cascadia


We propose to evaluate the role of slab geometry and oblique convergence on the production and partitioning of permanent forearc deformation in a region of northern Cascadia where there are along-strike gradients in subduction obliquity, slab curvature, and geodetically-recorded strain. Specifically, this project will test the hypothesis that newly identified active crustal faults on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, accommodate right-lateral transpression and contribute to active oroclinal bending in response to the slab-parallel component of relative plate motion. To test this hypothesis, we will determine fault kinematics and the Holocene slip history of three prominent outer forearc structures using a combination of bedrock mapping and structural analysis, surficial mapping of offset Quaternary deposits, and exploratory paleoseismic trenches. This work will also provide the first constraints on the seismic hazard posed by crustal faults in populated areas of southern British Columbia and will train undergraduate and graduate students in the identification and characterization of active shallow faults.



Kristin Morell; Edward Keller; Thomas Dunne              3/1/18-2/28/19                      $20,470


National Science Foundation 1830169


The nature and physics of the Montecito debris flows of January 9, 2018, increasing community resiliency to debris flow hazards


On January 9, 2018, three large debris flows in the village of Montecito, Santa Barbara County,

California killed 21 people, destroyed or damaged over 390 homes and commercial buildings, and closed all local traffic for several weeks. The flows were caused by intense precipitation in the days following the Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history. In this project we will: 1) document and analyze time-sensitive field evidence for the nature and physics of the Montecito debris flows; and 2) increase community resiliency by converting this knowledge into more accessible forms of public understanding and messaging about the risk of future debris flow damage. This program will be implemented as soon as possible, because key field evidence is rapidly degrading and research suggests the debris flow hazards posed by the Thomas fire may continue for two or more years.




Max Moritz                                                                            3/1/18-2/28/19                    $134,119


University of California 20180192-04


Fire, Forest Dieback, and Climate Change in California


PI-Moritz and postdoc(s) will develop statistical analyses of historical and future fire patterns (e.g., frequency, severity, rates of spread) and their relationships to numerous biophysical causal factors (e.g., water stress in vegetation burned, weather conditions during fires, long-term climate variables controlling productivity and/or fire season length); human influences will also be examined (e.g., road densities, land development patterns). Management scenarios to mitigate both fire hazard and drought stress will be explored, with the goal of quantifying the degree to which they might have been able to alter recent impacts of drought across California; these will also be projected into future conditions. The “reversibility” of climate change scenarios will be examined by quantifying the habitat suitability requirements (i.e., environmental niche space) of mixed conifer forests, which should reveal how much of this important forest type may persist in the coming century and how much will no longer be able to survive in its current range.



Max Moritz                                                                            2/6/18-12/31/19                  $179,472


University of California SA17-3881-01


Fire Probability Modeling for Avoided Emissions Projects


This project will produce updated projections of future wildfire activity across California. These will be provided to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection-Fire and Resource Assessment Program (CAL FIREFRAP) for use in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, resource allocation planning, and other activities. Our goal is to incorporate updates to base input data, regional statistical calibrations, and other refinements to produce maps of future fire probability under accepted climate change scenarios for California. This will be done in collaboration with Dr. Michael Mann at George Washington University, who has been instrumental in previous model development (i.e., Mann et al. 2016). 



Norm Nelson; David Siegel                                                  3/27/18-3/26/21                  $293,608


National Aeronautics and Space Administration 80NSSC18K0736


Bermuda Bio-Optics Project: Data for MODIS Algorithm Maintenance


Continuing the over 22-year time series of in situ optical data needed to maintain MODIS remote sensing reflectance, chlorophyll, and absorption IOP algorithms, using observations from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study site in the northwestern Sargasso Sea. We plan to collect high quality data for MODIS ocean products including remote sensing reflectance spectra, chlorophyll a concentration and inherent optical properties, and to compare them to the corresponding MODIS data sets. Component absorption spectra will be determined on samples shipped 3x yearly to UCSB for analysis.



Norm Nelson; David Siegel                                                  7/1/14-7/1/18                   $1,056,179


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX14AM83G


Bermuda Bio-Optics Project: Continuation of Time-series and Retrospective Data Analysis


The subtropical Sargasso Sea southeast of Bermuda has been and continues to be a model system for oceanographers studying earth system processes in the open ocean, in particular elemental cycles involving organic carbon and nutrients. The long-term studies being carried out at the U.S. JGOFS Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site (Steinberg et al. 2001) are providing a decade-scale view of the current state of the ocean climate and its changes, while the hydrographic measurements at Hydrostation S provide a record of ocean climate change over the last half century. The long baseline of these time series reveals patterns and processes that are not visible within shorter studies. In particular, the BATS record of the inorganic carbon system (Bates et al, 2012; Figure 1) shows a strong trend in increasing CO2 and decreasing pH and aragonite saturation state. This trend may be a strong driver of the biological community that we can detect and analyze using bio-optical techniques. Our research within this time series context has focused on developing and applying methods for extending the reach of in situ time-series of oceanographic studies by using optical and remote sensing data to provide novel information and spatial context. Our past and ongoing research efforts have been oriented toward analyzing the linkages between ocean optical properties (as measured in situ and from spaceborne sensors) and biogeochemical processes such as CDOM cycling and primary productivity as modulated by seasonal cycles and mesoscale processes.


Previous and ongoing studies have also made use of BBOP in situ data in combination with imagery and other sensor data from EOS and related platforms in both algorithm development, validation, and in answering science questions. BBOP has also contributed significantly to data records required for deriving new products from ocean color data, and toward the validation of current spaceborne radiometric sensors and algorithms. Our goals for this project are to continue the time series of high quality observations at the BATS site, carry out studies of the long-term data set, transition to the new platform, and reprocess and quality control the historic data set using new community derived standards.



Nicholas Nidzieko                                                                 6/1/17-12/31/17                    $81,865


AMPAC, Inc. AMPAC0180-17-012


Test of bi-static underwater optical imager from an autonomous underwater vehicle


UCSB will provide NAVAIR access to a Kongsberg-Hydroid REMUS 600 for the purpose of demonstrating a NAVAIR-provided bistatic LIDAR system, including initial testing in the coastal ocean near UCSB and a demonstration at Patuxent NAS.



Nicholas Nidzieko                                                                 7/1/16-7/31/17                      $11,657


National Science Foundation 1745258


Collaborative Research: Circulation and mixing in a coastally trapped river plume


The purpose of the research funded under this award was to make novel measurements of turbulent mixing at the spreading edges of a buoyant coastal plume. Such observations are exceedingly rare, with the majority of our knowledge and understanding of plume dynamics based on numerical simulations. We successfully conducted an extensive field campaign, capturing the leading edge of a plume with ship-based observations and the offshore edge of the plume with an AUV.



Ryan Niemeyer; Christina (Naomi) Tague                        6/1/18-5/31/20                    $164,977


US Department of Agriculture, 2018-67012-28046


Forest thinning in dry forests: improving the resilience of forest health and streamflow in the Pacific Northwest


People in the interior Pacific Northwest depend on dry forests for timber, healthy ecosystems, and reliable streamflow. However, these forests are denser than historical forests, leaving them unhealthy and at risk for drought and wildfire. Forest thinning can increase forest health but the mountainous terrain of the Pacific Northwest makes it difficult to know where thinning will maximize forest resilience. Forest owners and managers have identified the need for management-relevant scientific information at the appropriate scale. The goal of the following integrated postdoctoral fellowship is to identify forest thinning strategies that maximize dry forest resilience through research and extension with forest owners. The integrated project has two over-arching objectives within research and extension: a) assess the ability of forest thinning strategies to reduce drought vulnerability and increase streamflow resilience; b) increase understanding of forest thinning impacts and implementation of thinning strategies among forest owners and managers. I will simulate forest hydrological and ecological processes in three watersheds in Washington and Idaho. I will establish three longitudinal workshop groups with forest owners in each of the watersheds. These groups will be consulted throughout the project to increase model applicability to forest owners.



Susannah Porter                                                                   9/1/14-8/31/19                    $421,588


National Science Foundation EAR-1411594


Collaborative Research: Toward a global timeline of biological and ocean geochemical change during the early Cambrian


Global correlation of the lower Cambrian has been difficult to achieve. Biostratigraphic correlation has been hampered by the provinciality of many early animal groups, including trilobites, and the inevitable diachroneity of fossil first appearance datums (FADs). Likewise, deriving correlations based only on qualitative ‘wiggle matching’ of chemostratigrapic records such as carbon (δ13C) or strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotopes usually is ambiguous, and can be distorted by disconformities and carbonate diagenesis. Furthermore, without U-Pb zircon ages from interbedded tuffs and volcaniclastic rocks, even stratigraphy that is well correlated in relative time will not constrain the rate and duration of important biological and geochemical changes. The PIs will construct a comprehensive database of animal fossil occurrences, litho- and chemostratigraphy, and U-Pb zircon geochronology of interbedded volcaniclastics. Multiproxy records of variable diversity and completeness from around the globe will be correlated using the CONOP seriation software. The resulting composite stratigraphy will place each local record in relative and absolute time, based not on one variable, like FADs or δ13C, but rather on all available stratigraphic observations simultaneously. In addition, we will improve on the CONOP algorithms by adapting statistical techniques that compute uncertainties in stratigraphic correlation by taking into account variables such as curve-matching ambiguity and facies control on fossil preservation. The result will be a first-of-its-kind timeline of early Cambrian animal evolution and ocean geochemical change with quantitative uncertainties. We will use this timeline to constrain a new Earth-system model that tracks C, O, S, Mg, Ca, ALK, P, Sr, U and Mo in sea water and sediment pore-fluid.



Simone Pulver                                                                       1/1/16-8/31/19                    $349,308


National Science Foundation 1534976


Egregious Polluters: A socially-structured explanation of disproportionality in the production of pollution


Rankings of firm environmental performance consistently reveal that the production of pollution is uneven. There are some facilities whose pollution burden on the environment is egregious compared to peer facilities. Freudenburg (2005) termed this pattern disproportionality in the production of pollution. Disproportionality as a measure to characterize inequality in the production of pollution is gaining ground in organizational research on society and the environment. Studies of disproportionality have been conducted for the primary metals industry (Freudenburg 2005), the dairy industry (Collins 2012), the electric utility industry (Grant et al. 2013), and comparatively across a range of industries (Collins forthcoming), and they all confirm the disproportionality pattern. However, such studies take a cross-sectional approach, analyzing disproportionality at one point in time. This research proposes a longitudinal, comparative, mixed-methods approach, investigating the social structures and contexts that affect if, how, and under what circumstances disproportionality changes over time. The research focuses on three questions: 1) How does disproportionality in the production of pollution change over time? 2) What drives those changes? and 3) What factors account for the persistence of egregious polluters? These questions are answered by analyzing facility-level toxic chemical emissions data reported to the US EPA's Toxics Release Inventory from 1988 to 2012 for three industry classifications- pulp and paper milling (NAICS 3221), printed circuit board manufacturing (NAICS 334412), and PVC pipe manufacturing (NAICS 326122).



Matthew Rioux                                                                     8/1/16-7/31/19                    $210,557


National Science Foundation 1636678


Collaborative Research: The four-dimensional distribution of magmatism during the growth of lower oceanic crust: High precision U-Pb dating of IODP Hole U1473A, Atlantis Bank, SWIR


Recent application of high precision U-Pb zircon geochronology to samples of lower ocean crust has begun to provide unprecedented insight into the spatial and temporal distribution of magmatism during accretion, providing key constraints for the development of robust petrogenetic models. In this proposal, Cheadle, John, and Rioux propose to use integrated Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) zircon trace element analysis and high precision isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) U-Pb dating to study the formation and cooling rates of the lower oceanic crust cored by the new deep IODP drill hole (Hole U1473A; 789.2 meters below sea floor). Cheadle, a shipboard scientist, collected over 90 samples from the core providing high spatial resolution. Previous work by the PIs on samples from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Holes 1105A and 735B, yielded analytical uncertainties for single zircon U-Pb dates as low as +/-0.011 Ma, and weighted mean uncertainties of +/-0.004 to +/-0.009 Ma for the most precisely dated samples. These data permitted the recognition of individual intrusive events, placing constraints on the constructional dimensions and history of lower oceanic crust.



Matthew Rioux                                                                     4/15/17-3/31/19                  $231,072


National Science Foundation 1650407


Formation of the metamorphic sole of the Semail ophiolite: High-precision U-Pb dating of the preserved remnants of a subducted slab


The Semail (Oman-United Arab Emirates) and other Tethyan ophiolites are underlain by a thin sole of amphibolite- to granulite-facies metamorphic rocks. As preserved remnants of the underthrust plate, sole exposures can be used to better understand the formation and obduction of ophiolites. In two previous projects, PI Matt Rioux and his collaborators have used high-precision isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) U-Pb zircon dating to study the timing of ophiolite formation and the development of subduction below the ophiolite. New data from two large exposures of the metamorphic sole yielded surprising results, indicating that that the earliest sole metamorphism was synchronous with or pre-dated formation of the ophiolite crust and that metamorphism was diachronous along the length of the ophiolite, spanning ≥1.3 Ma, contrary to current models. To better understand the implications of these results to the origin of ophiolites, Rioux proposes to carry out high-precision dating at exposures of the metamorphic sole throughout the Semail ophiolite.



Karl Rittger                                                                           6/1/18-12/31/19                  $331,195


California Department of Fish and Wildlife


High Resolution Snow Cover Maps for Quantifying Winter Habitat for Wildlife


Optical remote sensing can accurately provide much needed information on snow cover and snowpack; specifically, we can derive snow cover and snow albedo from these instruments. Since March of 2000, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) has provided daily images of the entire Earth’s surface. Historically, MOD10 snow cover and albedo, based on simple algorithms such as the Normalized Snow Difference Index (NDSI), have been used. However, NDSI uses only parts of the electromagnetic spectrum available from Earth observing satellites while recent developments in modeling snow properties utilize innovative algorithms that take advantage of the full spectrum. Unlike NDSI, these modern algorithms, in this case MODIS Snow Covered Area and Grain Size (MODSCAG), maintain their performance over a broader range of land surfaces, especially mountainous terrain, during accumulation, and in spring and summer when snow is most heterogeneous (Rittger et al. 2013). The proposed work includes adapting and introducing statistical methodology for fusing Landsat and MODIS satellite data. In particular, the blended product will be daily optimal statistical estimates of snow cover at the 30m Landsat resolution, but that are consistent with the coarse 500m MODIS estimates.  This will be accomplished by utilizing generalized additive models, robust feature engineering techniques from machine learning, and spatial stochastic modeling that accounts for uncertainty in the fused products.



Leonel Romero; J. Carter Ohlmann                                  9/18/15-2/28/19               $1,534,757


Centro De Investigacion Cientifica De Ensenada CICESE SB160037


Inner-Shelf Near-Surface Horizontal Dispersion


This proposal is part of the SENER-CONACYT/Hydrocarbons project to quantify horizontal dispersion over the inner shelf. This will be achieved with a series of field experiments in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Brownsville, TX. The project performance is 4.5 years, which is divided in three periods: Period 1 (9/11/2015 – 2/28/2017), Period 2 (3/1/2017 – 2/28/2019) and Period 3 (3/1/2019 – 2/28/2020). In the 1st Period UCSB will deliver a preliminary report of dispersion analysis and flow characteristics. In Period 2 UCSB will deliver a report with analysis of coastal dispersion with respect to background flow structures, as well as wind and wave forcing conditions. In Period 3 UCSB will deliver the final report with scale dependent diffusivity analysis with respect to distance from the shore, bathymetry, and forcing, including the characterization of background flow structures. The final deliverable will enable comparison with deep‐water dispersion studies and modeling efforts to be carried out by other members of the SENER‐CONACYT/Hydrocarbons project.



Leonel Romero                                                                     7/1/16-6/30/19                    $259,538


Office of Naval Research N00014-16-1-2936


Numerical Modeling of Wave-Current interactions in the Presence of Submesoscale Ocean Features


This project studies wave-current interactions in the presence of oceanic submesoscale features such as fronts, filaments, and eddies. The work will investigate feedbacks on submesoscale processes due to wave-current interactions. The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) will be coupled to a wave model to study realistic wave-current interactions over the mid and inner continental shelf. The wave model will be validated in conditions with significant wave-current interactions, including both current-induced refraction and direct forcing by surface currents, against existing field observations. Coupled simulations will be carried out to investigate wave-current interactions and feedbacks over regions of elevated submesoscale activity. The coupled model will be validated against field observations collected during the DRI. The simulations will enable investigation of the importance of vortex forces on submesoscale processes. The resulting coupled model will provide a numerical framework for future capability expansion to incorporate additional effects of waves on currents such as modulation of the surface stress, and mixing due to breaking and non-breaking waves.



Dylan Rood; Toshiro Tanimoto                                          5/1/17-9/30/18                      $22,000


University of Southern California 94315363-C


SCEC5 Participation, Project: Testing fault geometry and interaction models using high-precision slip rates on the San Cayetano and Ventura-Pitas Point Faults


The primary goal of this work is to use cosmogenic isotope dating techniques to precisely date important and poorly-dated Quaternary strain markers, which are variably deformed across two major structures in the Western Transverse Ranges (WTR): the San Cayatano and Ventura Pitas Point faults. These important structures are potentially linked by a fault section (the Southern San Cayetano fault), for which slip rates do not currently exist. Developing the first radiometric chronology of deformed deposits will directly contribute to and reduce uncertainties in earthquake hazards assessments associated with the SCEC5 research priorities, WGCEP goals, and the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Program. First, we will develop precise ages for multiple river terraces and alluvial fans, which are differentially deformed across and along strike of the San Cayetano and Pitas Point fault systems. We will, in turn, use these ages to develop high-resolution deformation rates on these hazardous, but poorly understood, faults where current greater than two-fold uncertainty on rates exists. Finally, we will use the spatial distribution of slip rates along strike and between adjacent faults to test controversial subsurface fault geometry (ramp versus non-ramp models) and fault interaction models.



Roberta Rudnick                                                                  9/1/16-8/31/19                    $140,000


Arizona State University/Tempe EAR-1338810 (NSF Flow-through)


FESD Type 1: The Dynamics of Earth System Oxygenation


Because Mo abundances in black shales remains the most important proxy for the rise of atmospheric oxygen, it is imperative that the behavior of Mo during crust formation and evolution (e.g., during magmatic differentiation and weathering) be determined. Attempts to use Mo abundances in black shales as an oxybarometer for the atmosphere have rested on the assumption that Mo is mainly contained within sulfides (particularly pyrite) in the upper continental crust, and that increased pyrite dissolution rates at higher pO2 results in greater release of Mo. The work to be carried out seeks to test this assumption.



Roberta Rudnick; John Cottle                                            2/15/17-1/31/20                  $394,453


National Science Foundation 1650260


U-Pb thermochronology of lower crustal xenoliths -- estimating Moho temperature in order to constrain crustal heat production


This project will focus on developing methods that will allow crustal heat production to be ascertained from in-situ U-Pb thermochronology of lower crustal xenoliths combined with surface heat flow data. We will focus our initial efforts on a large and well-characterized suite of granulite-facies xenoliths from northern Tanzania, followed by similar studies of well-characterized lower crustal xenoliths from the Siberian Craton (Udachnaya kimberlite) and the Superior Craton (Attawapiskat kimberlites). The methods developed here can be applied to other suitable xenolith suites in order to develop global constraints on the proportion of heat producing elements that reside in the continental crust.



Roberta Rudnick                                                                  2/1/18-1/31/20                    $138,655


National Science Foundation 1757313


Chalcophile Element Geochemistry


The funding will support the research of a PhD candidate, who will use the abundances and, in some cases, isotopic compositions (e.g., Mo) of variably chalcophile elements in three projects related to chalcophile element geochemistry of the crust-mantle system. The first project investigates the causes of the systematic depletion in Mo (relative to Ce and Pr – which have similar bulk partition coefficients) that the student discovered in many granitic suites through study of the Mo inventory in common crustal rocks. This depletion may be caused by i) loss of Mo to a magmatic vapor phase (MVP) during late-stage differentiation, ii) loss of Mo during crystal fractionation in the crust due to its partitioning into Ti-bearing phases, and/or iii) loss of Mo to a Ti-bearing phase (e.g., rutile) in subducted oceanic crust. To evaluate these possibilities, we will i) determine the Mo abundances and partitioning in xenolithic eclogites from the Man Shield, Sierra Leone that have been interpreted to be residues of Archean oceanic crust trapped within the cratonic mantle, and ii) analyze a calc-alkaline differentiation suite to determine whether Mo is lost to Fe-Ti oxides. The second project seeks to understand the systematic change in Mo isotopic composition of the upper continental crust that the student discovered through analyses of glacial diamictite composites. We hypothesize that the trend to lower δ98Mo seen in diamictites deposited from the Archean to the Paleozoic results from retention of isotopically light Mo within Fe and Mn hydroxides developed in the regolith following the GOE. To test this hypothesis, we plan to analyze Mo isotopes in two well-characterized weathering profiles developed on basalt and a diabase, for which mineralogy, major and trace elements, and Li and Mg isotopes have previously been determined. If our hypothesis stands, we expect the basalt profile to exhibit a lighter Mo isotope signature, as it contains abundant Fe-Mn oxides and hydroxides relative to the diabase profile. These data, in combination with the Mo isotope data for the glacial diamictites, may allow us to track the onset of oxidative weathering of the continents. The final project evaluates the degree to which variably chalcophile elements, like Mo, partition into sulfides in the mantle through a study of well characterized massif peridotites. In addition to determining chalcophile element partitioning behavior, we seek to provide additional constraints on the abundances of these elements (many of which are moderately to highly volatile, e.g., As, Cd, Ga, In, Sn, Tl) in the primitive mantle. For this work we will analyze a wide array of chalcophile elements in both whole rocks and minerals of well-characterized peridotites from the Pyrenees. By determining the behavior of these elements during mantle melting, we will provide additional constraints on their abundances in the primitive mantle and, from this, their partitioning into the core.



Joshua Schimel                                                                     7/1/14-6/30/18                    $704,320


National Science Foundation PLR-1417758


Does E. vaginatum take up organic N?


Twenty years ago, Chapin et al. (1993) showed that Eriophorum vaginatum, the plant species that dominates arctic tussock tundra, not only can use organic N-sources, but actually grows better with amino acids as a sole N-source than with inorganic N salts. This catalyzed a cascade of research that transformed our vision of the plant-soil N-cycle; small N-containing organic compounds have replaced NH4+ as the centerpoint of the N cycle. A challenge of this shifting view however, is that no one has actually quantified, for any plant species growing in the wild, let alone for E. vaginatum-- how much of its total N demand is met by organic N-sources! The challenge to answering this question has been methodological; standard 15N isotope tracer methods show that many plants can take up amino acids, but without accounting for dilution of the 15N tracer into the native N pools as they rapidly turn over, they can not assess how much of the native compounds are taken up by plants. This project would overcome this problem and answer the question "Do plants really use organic N?" The project would use a combination of methods integrated through simulation modeling. The key novel method is microdialysis, in which a probe the size of a root is inserted into the soil, a carrier solution flows through it, and small molecules diffuse into it. If water is used as the carrier, it creates a diffusion gradient, while if a dextran solution is used, it draws water into the probe and so creates mass flow. Thus, this can indicate which substrates in soil are moving to the root surface. Microdialysis will be coupled with intact root uptake kinetic studies, isotope partitioning, and analyzing diffusion and transport of amino acids, NH4+ and NO3- through soil to parameterize a root uptake model that will be used to synthesize and integrate the results. This will allow evaluate the actual N sources used by E. vaginatum. The first phase of the work will be done under controlled conditions in the greenhouse; then having refined the methods and assessed model parameters, we will move into the field to assess seasonal patterns of N uptake and how it is affected by environmental manipulations.



Joshua Schimel                                                                     10/1/16-9/30/17                    $41,122


University of California 00009485


Carbon sequestration potential of rangeland soils


Dr. Schimel's lab at UCSB will undertake to do a series of soil incubations to measure microbial biomass and nitrogen mineralization rates as an overall contribution to the project evaluating the effects of using compost applications to enhance soil C sequestration in grasslands around California.



Katja Seltmann                                                                    6/27/16-6/30/18                    $40,000


California Coastal Conservancy 15-124


Kids in Nature Explore the Coast (KIN2)


The KIN2 program is designed to provide twenty 4-6th grade classrooms in our local area with one educational activity to one of the coastally focused KIN sites, which include UCSB Storke Wetlands, Coal Oil Point Reserve (COPR), North Campus Open Space and Arroyo Hondo Preserve. In addition, one follow-up classroom visit will be provided: KIN2 staff will work in small groups to complete the specially designed activities.  KIN2 will provide opportunities for teachers and students to explore the coast. We will:  Update 18 activity boxes; Provide funding for bus transportation for 20 5th grade teachers to bring their classes (approximately 600 students) to one of our coastal locations—Storke Wetlands, COPR and Arroyo Hondo;  Provide funding for each classroom to receive one follow-up visit from the KIN2 staff to work through the post field-trip activities; Expand opportunities for UCSB students to serve as mentors through the KIN2 program; Provide professional development  (incorporated into each fieldtrip); Promote the use of 18 previously developed coastally focused activity boxes that accompany each fieldtrip. The KIN2 program will engage graduate and undergraduate students to serve as mentors for the 4-6th grade students. Along with other scientists, these UCSB students will provide engaging and challenging activities, structured lessons and supportive interactions both in class and in the field. 



Katja Seltmann                                                                    10/1/16-9/30/19                  $112,749


The Institute of Museum and Library Services IMLS MA-30-16-0387-16


Upgrade of the historical Wenner insect collection: Utilizing collection data in Restoration Ecology

The Wenner insect collection represents an uncommon historical record of insects in endangered coastal California habitats. Dr. Adrian Wenner developed the collection as part of a UCSB general entomology course that he taught from 1961 until he retired in 1993. The majority of the specimens were collected on UCSB campus and the UCSB Natural Reserve System habitats; consequently, he created an important natural history archive that is valuable to ongoing regional ecological restoration research initiatives. In this project we propose to: 1) curate, barcode, image, database, and georeference the existing 9,000 insect specimens in the collection, 2) disseminate the information broadly to national and international specimen data resources, 3) develop an insect curation skills course as part of the already established and successful Curation of Natural History Collections course offered by the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, 4) create a manual on contemporary practices for curating and digitizing insect collections for small museums, and 5) provide workshops on insect identification and insect biodiversity. 


The project will be devoted to the moving of the insects into new cabinets and taxonomic identification for reorganization of the collection; barcoding, imaging, and label transcription to database the specimens; and finding decimal geographical coordinates that match the specimen locality labels. Concurrent to these activities, we will develop and teach the Curation of Natural History Collections course on insect curation skills and recruit student interns to work in the collection. The course will be offered in winter quarter 2017 and fall quarter 2017. In winter quarter 2017 and 2018 we will provide workshops on insect identification and biodiversity for CCBER restoration staff, UC Santa Barbara Natural Reserve System staff, and other interested university staff, faculty and students. 



David Siegel; Nicholas Nidzieko; Daniel Reed; Norm Nelson; Robert Miller; Thomas Bell

                                                                                                7/1/17-4/30/21 (RASF)   $2,003,893


Department of Energy DE-AR0000922


Scalable Aquaculture Monitoring System - SAMS


Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), one of the most productive organisms on Earth, depends on nutrients supplied from the surrounding water column to maintain its photosynthetic apparatus and maximize growth rates. Recent advances in macroalgal biofuel production techniques have spurred action to develop offshore kelp farms to utilize natural pools of available nutrients and produce kelp biomass as a novel US energy production stream. To maximize kelp biomass yields, managers must be able to monitor the progression of the kelp farm, starting at outplant and continuing through the growth cycle to harvest, with information on biomass, productivity and physiological status, as well as the environmental conditions that control its near-term production. The rapid growth rate of this species, along with the everpresent potential of biomass losses due to frond senescence, herbivory, and fouling amplify the requirement of real time, autonomous monitoring data to assist in optimizing the operation of a giant kelp aquaculture farm. The Scalable Aquaculture Monitoring System (SAMS) addresses these needs by continuously assessing underwater and floating kelp biomass, physiological condition, and production along with the environmental factors known to affect kelp growth, all while delivering relevant information to the farm manager in real time. SAMS is composed of aerial and underwater autonomous vehicles and sensors, tested and validated to provide the most efficient suite of instruments delivering the required metrics at the plant scale, while maintaining the scalability to monitor multiple giant kelp farms simultaneously.



David Siegel; Norm Nelson; Uta Passow                            8/15/17-8/14/21               $3,893,745


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Synthesizing Optically- and Carbon Export-Relevant Particle Size Distributions for the EXPORTS Field Campaign


Particle size has fundamental control on the distribution and dynamics of particulate carbon in the upper ocean. Stokes’ law states that particles with larger effective diameters (D) will sink faster than smaller ones determining whether particles are effectively suspended within the water column (D<~100 μm) or are sinking (D>~500μm). Net Primary Production (NPP) enters pelagic ecosystems as suspended particles and these particles (along with CDOM) control the ocean’s optical properties. Further, sinking particles undergo many biotic and abiotic transformations in their size, composition and sinking velocity as they transit from the surface ocean, regulating carbon export and remineralization profiles. This points to the importance of understanding the particle size distribution (PSD) in predicting the fate of NPP, the central goal of EXPORTS. We propose to answer four science questions to develop a predictive understanding of the PSD for both suspended and sinking particles. 1. How do the abundance, composition and productivity of particle source materials regulate the PSD for smaller, optically relevant particle sizes? 2. How do source particle characteristics as well as biotic / abiotic interactions on sinking particles regulate the PSD for larger, carbon export relevant particle sizes? 3. Can the combined size distribution for suspended and sinking particles be modeled using optical data and in particular from satellite ocean color observations? 4. How do energy and carbon derived from phytoplankton NPP cascade through the particle size spectrum? 


David Siegel                                                                           3/27/18-3/26/21                  $279,349


National Aeronautics and Space Administration 80NSSC18K0735


Plumes and Blooms MODIS Algorithm Maintenance


We will continue the fieldwork and data analysis tasks needed to maintain the Aqua MODIS ocean remote sensing reflectance, phytoplankton pigment and inherent optical property (IOP) algorithms using observations from the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC). Satellite algorithm maintenance requires the comparison of remote sensing data products with both coincident field observations as well as satellite data products from similar sensors. The SBC and its surrounding waters is an excellent location for this task due to the inherent large spatial and temporal variations in ocean and atmospheric optical properties.

We propose to quality assure the MODIS Aqua ocean color algorithms using observations in a complex coastal system. Of particular relevance are algorithms for remote sensing reflectance spectra, chlorophyll a concentration and inherent optical properties. MODIS ocean color data products are operationally produced by the NASA GSFC ocean color data processing group and are used regularly by the ocean sciences community. Maintenance of satellite algorithm requires quality assessment of MODIS Aqua satellite data products with both field observations as well as relevant satellite data products from other platforms (VIIRS, OLCI, etc.). We will analyze MODIS Aqua Level-2 satellite data products for the SBC and its surrounding waters through matchups to field observations and their intercomparison with (Henderikx Freitas et al. 2016). The integration of field and satellite observations provides quality assure the MODIS Aqua ocean color algorithm maintenance in a complex coastal ocean.



David Siegel                                                                           7/7/14-7/6/18                      $840,001


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX14AL94G


Plumes and Blooms: A Multi-Decadal Coastal Bio-Optical Time-series and Retrospective Data Analysis


The focus of the Plumes and Blooms (PnB) program is to understand, predict and utilize changes in ocean color in the complex coastal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC), California. The core element of the PnB program is the monthly, day-long sampling of 7 stations across the Santa Barbara Channel. At each station, a full suite of bio-optical and oceanographic measurements is sampled and nearly 80 stations are completed each year. Coupled with the highly dynamic nature of the SBC, the PnB data are incredibly useful for answering coastal ocean color science questions and for validating satellite data products. PnB field observations started in 1996 and they have continued continuously to the present.



David Siegel; Norm Nelson; Stéphane Maritorena           3/1/15-2/28/20                 $1,019,152


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX15AE72G


North Atlantic Aerosol and Marine Ecosystem Study (NAAMES)


The UCSB In Situ Ocean Optics & Ocean Color Modeling Team will support the NAAMES field project by: 1) making in situ ocean optics profiles of downwelling and upwelling spectral irradiance and upwelled radiance spectra at each daylight station during the four scheduled field deployments; 2) collecting and analyzing discrete water samples for inherent optical property determinations (cf., ag(λ), aph(λ), adet(λ)), 3) archiving reduced and quality-checked data within four months after each deployment; 4) develop, validated and implement next generation biooptical models for retrieving ocean properties using NAAMES radiance spectra determinations; 5) participating in project planning and science discussions and meetings; 6) conducting individual/collaborative data analyses to address project objectives; and 7) presenting results at national/international meetings and in peer-reviewed journals in accordance with project schedules.



David Siegel; James Allen                                                   9/1/15-8/31/18                    $105,000


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX15AN87H


Retrieval of Phytoplankton Size Distribution from Satellite Imagery


Knowledge about the size, composition, and distribution of particles in the global ocean has led to breakthroughs in understanding surface ecosystem dynamics as well as the ocean’s role in the Earth’s carbon cycle. Remote sensing has recently become a powerful tool for characterizing the global particle size distribution (PSD) and phytoplankton size composition on relevant spatiotemporal scales through the use of two distinct optical modeling approaches. Spectral backscattering models perform well in oligotrophic marine regions due to the lack of terrestrially derived particles, while spectral absorption models work well in productive regions due to their ability to key into the flattening of spectral absorption features in larger particles due to the package effect. However, these models often fail because they do not address the bio-optical complexity of the ocean. The proposed work will improve on current studies by developing a novel algorithm that merges PSD information from both particle backscattering and absorption spectra. These new models, as well as existing techniques, applied to remotely sensed imagery from SeaWiFS, MODIS-Aqua, and Suomi VIIRS will be validated with available PSD field data. This allows for a detailed analysis of model sensitivities to changes in input variables while providing the ability to reconcile phytoplankton vs. particle size distributions. The power law size distribution assumption will also be reassessed in favor of a two-component model made up of fine and coarse modes following approaches used by the atmospheric aerosol community.



David Siegel; Dylan Catlett                                                  9/1/16-8/31/18                      $75,000


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX16AO44H


Linking Ocean Optical Properties with Marine Microbial Diversity Assessed by Next-Generation Sequencing


Understanding global patterns and distributions in marine microbial diversity is imperative in developing knowledge of global primary production, biogeochemical cycling, and ecosystem structuring. Given the excessive time and cost required to study these distributions on significant temporal and spatial scales, developing the use of ocean color remote sensing as a means to monitor these distributions is of great interest to oceanographers. Thus, many efforts have been made to develop relationships between optical properties, such as remote sensing reflectance and spectral absorption and backscattering coefficients, and phytoplankton community structure, which is generally characterized in these efforts by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Recent advances in the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) as a taxonomic method have provided a new way to characterize microbial community structure and diversity in situ, but its utility in studies linking optical signatures with diversity has yet to be examined. The goal of the proposed research is to further elucidate the two-way linkage in in situ optical signatures and phytoplankton community structure and to develop a relationship between these optical signatures and the non-photosynthetic microbial community by employing a combination of HPLC and NGS.



David Siegel                                                                           8/25/16-8/24/19                  $502,144


National Aeronautics and Space Administration NNX16AR49G


Data Mining Global Ocean Ecosystem & Carbon Cycling Observations for EXPORTS Planning & Synthesis


The biological carbon pump is thought to export ~10 Pg C each year from the surface ocean to ocean’s interior largely in the form of settling organic particles. The monitoring and prediction of global carbon export and time scales for its sequestration remain important unknowns of the ocean’s carbon cycle. To attack this problem, NASA is implementing the EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) field campaign. The goal of EXPORTS is to gain a predictive understanding of the export and fates of global ocean net primary production (NPP). The EXPORTS Science Plan focuses on quantifying the pathways in which NPP is exported from the upper ocean and is sequestered at depth. The EXPORTS field campaign as planned will likely observe maybe eight distinct ecosystem / carbon cycling states; yet its plan is to answer its science questions by performing longitudinal analyses of observations made across a range of states. Unfortunately, the statistical confidence in these results may be quite poor as only a small number of realizations may be afforded from the field program alone. The good news is that there are many sites where high-quality ecosystem / carbon cycling observations are available from online repositories and literature accounts from previous and ongoing research programs. Because of the available of these data, the “data mining” of available observations is an integral part of the EXPORTS Science Plan and likely critical to its success.


This pilot study will assess how to address the EXPORTS Science Questions by “data mining” previous observations. Specifically, our objectives are to: 1) Collect and collate available global ocean ecosystem and carbon cycling field observations useful for addressing the EXPORTS Science Questions; 2) Construct EXPORTS data products and “wiring diagrams” from available data and distribute and publish them for their wide use, and; 3) Evaluate the use of the mined data products for assessing the EXPORTS Science Questions and developing advanced satellite algorithms and numerical models.



David Siegel                                                                           10/1/16-9/30/17                    $69,233


University of Connecticut 137828 (EPA Flow-through)


Water Quality Monitoring Enhancements to Support the Hypoxia Management in Long Island Sound


Long Island Sound (LIS) is one of the largest urban estuaries in the world with highly diverse, physically dynamic and optically complex water. Variability in inherent and apparent optical properties, as well as biogeochemical properties such as sediment and chlorophyll concentrations, is exceptional across the region (Aurin et al. 2010, Aurin & Dierssen 2012). Recent research has shown that the waters are “optically complex” and other constituents besides phytoplankton play an important role in light absorption and scattering within the estuary. Namely, colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and suspended sediment are flushed into the estuary from rivers and these substances serve to absorb considerable amounts of blue light (400-500 nm) and also backscatter light across the visible spectrum. Because of this optical complexity, the standard NASA open ocean algorithms for assessing chlorophyll are not intended to be used and are highly inaccurate. Semi-analytical models can be used to retrieve the absorption and backscattering properties of dissolved and suspended materials of coastal environments and Aurin et al. (2010) has already optimized a semi-analytical ocean color algorithm for the dynamic and optically complex LIS estuary. The model provides a means to estimate the contributions of absorption and backscattering coefficients of each component (cdom, nap, and phytoplankton) and these derived optical properties can then be used to estimate biogeochemical parameters such as total suspended material (TSM) and chlorophyll (Chl). This tuned model, however, has not yet been regularly applied to imagery from the current ocean color satellites NPP VIIRS, and MODIS Aqua and Terra. Because of the challenges in accurately retrieving biogeochemical properties in complex estuaries, little work has been done assessing the spatial patterns of biomass and the relationships between temperature and chlorophyll in this region. This work aims to improve the standard satellite image processing to retrieve more accurate measures of phytoplankton biomass. With application of new algorithms, we are now poised to assess the long-term relationship between surface temperature and chlorophyll and begin to tackle questions related to how LIS has changed over the last 15 years in response to climate and anthropogenic forcings.



Alexander Simms                                                                 9/1/17-8/31/20                    $239,459


National Science Foundation 1644197


Collaborative Research: New Constraints on Post-Glacial Rebound and Holocene Environmental History along the Northern Antarctic Peninsula from Raised Beaches


The purpose of this research is to use optically stimulated luminescence to date a series of newly discovered raised beaches along the eastern Antarctic Peninsula and an already known, but only preliminarily dated, series of raised beaches in the South Shetland Islands. Data to be collected include the age and elevation of raised beaches, ground-penetrating radar profiles through the raised beaches, and the roundness of cobbles and the lithology of ice-rafted debris found on those raised beaches. With this data we will test three hypotheses: (1) uplift rates have increased in modern times relative to the late Holocene across the Antarctic Peninsula, (2) the sea-level history at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula is distinctly different than that of the South Shetland Islands, and (3) cobble roundness and the source of ice-rafted debris on raised beaches varied systematically through time reflecting the climate history of the northern Antarctic Peninsula.



Michael Singer; Kelly Caylor                                              8/1/17-7/31/20                    $396,566


National Science Foundation 1700555


Collaborative Research: Impacts of Dynamic, Climate-Driven Water Availability on Tree Water Use and Health in Mediterranean Riparian Forests


We propose an integration of methods to quantify and clarify how seasonal and annual variability in water sources influence tree water use, growth, and health, and how these processes are recorded within tree ring isotopic signatures. Our project combines: 1) field-based measurements of climate, soil hydrology, and tree water use, water sampling and laboratory analysis of oxygen isotopes from all potential tree water sources; (2) contemporary and retrospective analysis of oxygen and carbon isotopes in annual tree-rings to investigate recent climate-driven fluctuations in tree water use and water use efficiency; (3) seasonal (intra-annual) analysis of oxygen isotopes via high-resolution 'micro-slicing' of annual tree rings to assess seasonal fluctuations in tree water source use during the project period; and 4) improvement and application of a climate-driven numerical ecohydrology model that includes dynamic water fluxes into the floodplain, isotopic fractionation/mixing, and tree water uptake and cellulose preservation. Using this model and collected data, we will compare the ecohydrologic responses to climatic fluctuations and trends in water availability at forest sites along a strong climatic gradient in SE France.



Michael Singer; Dar Roberts                                              4/1/17-12/31/20                  $302,235


State University of New York (SUNY) 550-1142143-79134 (NSF Flow-through)


Linking basin-scale, stand-level, and individual tree water stress indicators for groundwater-dependent riparian forests in multiple-use river basins


This research project will develop a suite of water-stress indicators at several scales to assess the health of riparian ecosystems in response to sustained groundwater decline. This project will address a topic of scientific and societal importance, namely how to evaluate and help prevent negative impacts of drought and human-induced water shortages on vulnerable, high-value riparian ecosystems. It will integrate advanced methods in two rapidly emerging fields, hyperspectral remote sensing and isotope dendroecology, to develop a more holistic understanding of water stress at multiple scales of resolution. The project will compare water stress indicators that vary in their timing, strength, and rates of change, and it will facilitate the evaluation of warning signs and time lags among physiological water stress, reduced growth, and dieback in individual trees as well as synoptic forest decline evident throughout a river corridor. This project has the potential to influence groundwater management practices throughout California and in water-limited, multiple-use basins elsewhere. In partnership with The Nature Conservancy and other project collaborators, the investigators will integrate project findings with statewide guidelines for protecting groundwater-dependent riparian ecosystems mandated under California's recently implemented Groundwater Sustainability Management Act. The investigators will interact with groundwater conservation and management efforts in river basins through workshops for managers and stakeholders. They will mentor early-career environmental scientists, including women in STEM fields, and they will conduct outreach activities for elementary and secondary school students to increase regional environmental awareness in the study region.

Riparian forests and woodlands are hotspots of biodiversity, and they support key functions and habitats within river corridors, but they are particularly sensitive to large changes in water supply. This project will take place in the Santa Clara River in southern California, where sustained groundwater pumping for irrigation during a severe drought has had negative impacts and allows for study of riparian woodland response to changing environmental conditions over both short and longer terms. The investigators will assess the signals and thresholds of water stress over the last decade using high-resolution aerial imagery and tree-rings to develop predictors of long-term impairment and collapse. They will capitalize on extensive groundwater well records to link water-table dynamics with changes in plant water status detected at two different scales through the use of basin-wide, high-resolution aerial imagery taken seasonally during the drought and annual growth and carbon isotope data from tree rings covering the same period.




Michael Singer                                                                      2/26/18-1/31/19                    $31,371


The Nature Conservancy 07282017-4691


Assessing Riparian Forest Water Sources in the Santa Clara River Basin


Dynamic partitioning of water in the floodplain directly controls water availability to riparian trees rooted at different depths. We propose to collect detailed datasets at several field installations in the Santa Clara River Basin, which will enable us to ascertain: a) the evolving access to subsurface water by riparian trees; b) the relative magnitude of their use of groundwater, particularly during stressful periods; and c) their corresponding growth responses. Notably, it will allow us to assess the groundwater dependency of riparian forests in this basin, which has experienced marked declines in water tables and subsurface soil moisture due to the recent drought.


The data from this study will provide new understanding of water availability to riparian forests and their use of this water. These results will be relevant to surface water management efforts including developing aquifer recharge strategies and timing that benefit riparian forest ecosystems. Specifically, we will: 1) fingerprint distinct differences between potential endmember source waters to trees; 2) assess what water Salix and Poplulus spp. are using in the Santa Clara basin on annual and seasonal timescales, including likely depths of water access to roots and water source switching; and 3) quantify the growth response of these trees to fluctuations in water availability. Collectively, these data will indicate the patterns of groundwater use by keystone riparian trees. Due to the ubiquity of the focal species and similar ecohydrological responses of closely-related taxa, the results are projected to be applicable to riparian systems throughout California and other dryland regions.



Christopher Sorlien                                                              10/1/15-9/30/18                    $87,059


National Science Foundation 1537719


Collaborative Research: The North Anatolian Fault system in the Marmara Sea, Turkey - Insights from the Plio-Quaternary evolution of a multi-stranded transform


A continental transform is expected to originate as a distributed network of small faults with complex geometries that, with continued slip, gradually coalesce and simplify into a through-going fault. The North Anatolian Fault (NAF), a young continental transform, has been proposed as a prime example of this process. In the Marmara Sea, however, the NAF splits into several branches and forms a transtensional basin. Most of the strain is associated with the Northern Branch, which spawned three 1200-m deep basins. It has been proposed that the strain is focusing on the Northern Branch and that the Central and Southern branches are being abandoned. However, recent multichannel, sparker, and chirp seismic reflection and multibeam bathymetry data demonstrate continued activity of the Central Branch. These new data collected in 2013 and 2014 image the stratigraphy and numerous individual fault strands on the southern shelf of the Marmara Sea. We will use these data, in combination with a large suite of available previous data, to map the stratigraphy and faulting related to the Central Branch of the NAF. We propose to extend our published stratigraphic age model covering the past 0.5 Ma to greater depth and age. Earliest Pliocene fill of Messinian (~5 Ma) erosional valleys dated on land will be projected short distances to our near-shore reflection data to provide a base to the age model. Based on this stratigraphic framework, we will evaluate fault kinematics of many strands over the southern Marmara Sea during the last several million years. We will test the age model using sequence stratigraphic modeling. Basin modeling will be used to separate the effects of sediment loading, compaction and tectonic subsidence and test the extension estimates.



Christopher Sorlien; Bruce Luyendyk                               1/1/14-12/31/17                  $170,539


National Science Foundation PLR-1341585


Subsidence, Tilting, Sedimentation, and Oligocene-middle Miocene paleo-depth of Ross Sea


It has been proposed that the Ross Embayment and much of West Antarctica was a high elevation plateau supported by thick crust before rifting commenced 104 Ma, and has extended and subsided since then. As extension waned towards the end of the Cretaceous (east) or the Paleogene (west), the Ross Embayment lithosphere continued to subside creating the proto Ross Sea. A seismic-stratigraphic and modeling study is proposed to address the transition from basement rock near and above sea level across most of the future Ross Sea region in early Cenozoic time, to sedimentation in shallow water by the end of Oligocene time and into the early Miocene. Paleo-depths and the nature of the sea floor/subaerial surface through time will be quantified, providing models for Oligocene-early Miocene paleo-topography and tests for hypotheses for extension in the Ross Embayment. This work affects modeling of West Antarctic ice volumes, including large early Miocene volume fluctuations.



Frank Spera                                                                          2/15/16-1/31/19                  $251,997


National Science Foundation 1551056


Collaborative Research: Thermodynamics of magma mixing


We propose to utilize the Magma Chamber Simulator (MCS), a thermodynamic model that describes open system evolution of magma bodies subject to heat and matter exchange in a composite system to study the thermodynamics of multicomponent-multiphase magma mixing. MCS defines thermal, mass, and compositional (major/trace element and isotope) characteristics of melt ± minerals ± fluid phase in a magmatic system undergoing recharge (magma mixing), assimilation, and crystallization. The goals of our proposed work are to (1) Finalize MCS for general release to the petrologic community by early 2017 based upon feedback obtained from beta users in the last year. Streamlined input and output, automated trace element and isotope calculations, web-based tutorials, workshops, and YouTube videos will allow a spectrum of scholars to use MCS in their own studies. (2) Building on successful development of the exploratory (i.e., toy) binary eutectic model, develop three new toy models that sequentially incorporate known thermodynamic features of natural systems (peritectic, solid solution, ternary). These will provide insight into the thermodynamics of magma mixing. (3) Apply MCS to volcanic (Karymsky, Llaima) and plutonic (Kiglapait and Bushveld intrusions) suites that show indisputable evidence of magma mixing. (4) Extend MCS capabilities to include reaction of cumulates with magma melt, eruption, and the rhyolite MELTS H2O-CO2 solubility model. These new versions of MCS will be released. (5) Develop a magma mixing taxonomy by using toy and MCS results and observations from natural systems to identify and group dominant characteristics of mixed magma products and evaluate if these are associated with diagnostic initial conditions.



Jamison Steidl                                                                       5/1/15-9/29/17                    $532,627


Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC-HQ-60-15-C-0001


Observations and Analysis of Geotechnical Array Data


This project is to provide observations from the densely instrumented geotechnical array field sites associated with the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) monitoring program for use in confirmatory research and in the development of regulatory guidance at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These field sites, the Wildlife Liquefaction Array, the Borrego Valley Downhole Array, the Garner Valley Downhole Array, the Hollister Earthquake Observatory, the Seattle Liquefaction Array, and the Delaney Park Array, are geographically distributed throughout the most hazardous part of the United States, including three sites in southern California, one site in central California, one Pacific Northwest site in Seattle, and one site in Anchorage Alaska. The design objective of these sites was to capture the penultimate earthquake in each region and instrumental observations of the earthquake effects associated with such events. The broader objective is to capture a suite of earthquakes covering a range of ground motions and strain levels at each of these sites, to enable calibration of ground motion prediction models that include the effects of the near-surface geology from linear through nonlinear behavior. The California sites are operated solely by UCSB, while the Seattle and Anchorage sites are operated by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) respectively, with some assistance from UCSB. The data from all six of these facilities flows in real-time to UCSB and is disseminated along with the relevant metadata at the UCSB geotechnical array data portal ( Contributing to the development and validation of models for site response, liquefaction initiation, ground displacements and settlement, and soil-foundation-structure interaction effects, are the primary goals of this observation and analysis effort.




Jamison Steidl; Ralph Archuleta                                        2/1/15-1/31/18                      $30,000


University of Southern California 10358789-A


SCEC4 Participation, Project P: SCEC Borehole Instrumentation Program


The Portable Broadband Instrument Center (PBIC) will continue to support individual PI project driven deployments of the older style RefTek and the newer next generation real-time data acquisition systems. The new systems use commercial grade cellular VPN routers or other available Internet based telemetry that allows for continuous transmission of data back to the USGS/Caltech component of CISN. Ongoing projects using PBIC equipment include: real-time deployment of the PBIC stations along the Elsinore fault zone; array deployment of 10 RefTek stations at Pinon Flat to monitor potential tremor activity in the region; and use of the broadband CMG-40T sensors at stations in the Anza regional network.


In addition to support of field deployments, the PBIC project will continue to maintain the existing pool of older instruments including the long-term loan equipment from the IRIS PASSCAL instrument center and newly acquired RefTek 72A series instruments from the DOE. Heavy involvement of undergraduates is an important part of the PBIC operations as these student laboratory assistants perform the majority of the routine maintenance work under the supervision of the PI and/or engineering staff at the Earth Research Institute. These students also participate in deployments getting hands-on training in the use of the PBIC seismic monitoring equipment and software processing tools. Outreach demonstrations and presentations to local K-12 schools is also a regular activity for the PBIC and will continue.



Jamison Steidl; Ralph Archuleta                                        2/1/15-1/31/18                      $18,000


University of Southern California 10358789-B


SCEC4 Participation, Project Q: The SCEC Portable Broadband Instrument Center


The PBIC was established in 1991 by Prof. Ralph Archuleta through funding from SCEC to provide a "pool" of digital seismic recording equipment for use in post earthquake response and on individual PI driven research experiments within southern California. The PBIC is currently managed at the Earth Research Institute (ERI) by Dr. Jamison Steidl with support from undergraduate student laboratory assistants from the department of geological sciences and electrical and computer engineering.


The ability for SCEC to respond rapidly to a major southern California earthquake with the deployment of seismographs in the near-source region was a catalyst for the creation of the PBIC and is a critical asset of SCEC earthquake research community. This has been highlighted recently by the successful deployment of PBIC equipment in the 2010 El Mayor–Cucapah earthquake as well as the 2008 shakeout experiments along the southern San Andreas. Other PBIC successful RAMP deployments occurred in conjunction with the 2004 Parkfield and 2003 San Simeon earthquakes, as well as the four major earthquake sequences in the previous decade (1992 M6.1 Joshua Tree and M7.3 Landers, 1994 M6.7 Northridge, and 1999 M7.1 Hector Mine). The ability to conduct individual PI driven research experiments in between these major earthquake sequences using PBIC equipment is another very important asset. One of the main goals of the PBIC is to facilitate research in the earthquake community by providing readily accessible seismic monitoring stations for deployment in the southern California region.


This year, the Portable Instrument Center is starting to upgrade the data acquisition technology to current real-time systems, capable of integrating directly with the SCSN operations. Over the course of SCEC3, using its two newer real-time stations, the PBIC has demonstrated the capability to deploy and integrate its stations into the regional network, providing high-quality observations that are being used for earthquake locations and shake map applications. These stations have proven to be dependable and require very little maintenance. The previous generation of SCEC portable equipment is now coming up on two decades of operations. This older equipment is no longer completely reliable or cost-effective to deploy, as it requires regular site visits and post-processing efforts. Data recovery is about 75% in the winter months and as low as 50% in the summer months due to the age of the equipment, and failure of the older SCSI hard drives in the warmer summer temperatures. This year equipment will be added to provide a third modern real-time station to be used by the SCEC community, as well as maintenance and operations of the other two currently deployed stations.



Jamison Steidl                                                                         7/1/16-6/30/18                    $200,000


University of Southern California 10456511


Central California Special Project: Temporary Seismic Deployment


This component of the Central California Special Project is to collect broadband (40 seconds to 100 Hz) seismic data from both ambient and earthquake sources in a temporary network of 50 stations. The goal is to provide additional data to improve our understanding of seismic hazard. In particular, improving our understanding of the crustal structure and path effects that affect the seismic hazard in the central California region.



Jamison Steidl; Toshiro Tanimoto                                     5/1/17-9/30/18                      $30,000


University of Southern California 17246


SCEC5 Participation, Project A: SCEC Borehole Instrumentation Program


The borehole instrumentation program at UCSB continues to be a collaborative effort between SCEC and other agencies to maintain the existing network of borehole stations in California, to facilitate the integration of this data into CISN and the Southern California Earthquake data center (SCEDC), and to improve the dissemination of borehole data. The borehole program is highly leveraged, taking advantage of the resources of other programs and agencies that are active in monitoring southern California earthquake activity. This data is made available online to the public and research community, both through the SCEDC and the UCSB borehole data portal. Organizations the SCEC borehole instrumentation program collaborates with include Caltech/USGS, ANSS/NSMP, and the California Geological Survey. Other collaborators include the UC San Diego HPWREN program, the NSF EarthScope PBO program at UNAVCO, and also a NSF funded project to image the San Jacinto Fault zone, which has been leveraged along with USGS funding to include the installation of additional shallow borehole sensors along the San Jacinto fault, which are now part of the Anza Network. In 2015, the SCEC borehole program began a new collaboration with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in support of the UCSB Geotechnical Array Monitoring Project, previously funded by the NSF NEES program. The NRC provides continued support for the web-based data dissemination portal, and real-time continuous monitoring operations and data processing software, an important leveraged component of the SCEC borehole program.



Samantha Stevenson                                                            7/1/18-6/30/20                    $341,402


National Science Foundation


Collaborative Research: A Model/Proxy Synthesis of Walker Circulation Trends During the Last Millennium


The Pacific Walker circulation alters weather and climate extremes around the world, but its sensitivity to external climate forcings remains unknown. In particular, observational estimates of 20th century trends in the Walker circulation provide conflicting results, with some suggesting a strengthening and others a weakening or no trend, complicating the attribution of these trends to any specific forcing. Paleoclimate records can improve the detection and attribution of trends by providing longer-term context, but their use has been hindered by the lack of multi-proxy synthesis products and climate model simulations covering the last millennium. We propose to create new quantitative reconstructions of multiple Walker circulation metrics using the recently constructed PAGES Iso2k database, and to evaluate the mechanisms for variability and trends in these metrics using the Community Earth System Model Last Millennium Ensemble (LME) and new simulations with its isotope-enabled complement (iLME). The proposed research applies these new tools to answer one central question: What are the mechanisms underlying Walker circulation variability and trends from the Last Millennium through the 20th century, and what are the relative roles of external forcings and internal variability?




Lisa Stratton                                                                         8/1/17-12/31/18                    $75,000


Goleta West Sanitary District SB180076


North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Public Access Implementation Project


The goal of the NCOS Restoration Project is to restore the upper arms of Devereux Slough that were filled in 1965 to create Ocean Meadows Golf Course using fill soil from the adjacent uplands, including South Parcel to the south west of the golf course. The restoration project includes restoring more than 135 acres of diverse habitats, including a tidal connection to Devereux Slough, intermittently flooded mudflats, plover breeding habitat, salt marsh and a variety of upland and freshwater habitats, including vernal pools, freshwater marsh, native grassland, coastal sage scrub and back dune swale woodland habitat. The project also includes excavation and placement of approximately 350,000 cubic yards of fill on the former borrow site on South Parcel, which is within the NCOS project area. The project includes a trail system with bridges and boardwalks that supports safe routes to school and a diversity of users with a variety of trail sizes and functions. The trail design was developed through a community-based planning process in 2013-14 that included 4 public meetings and an opportunity to vote on alternatives in person and on-line.



Lisa Stratton                                                                         3/1/16-5/31/18                      $18,000


Santa Barbara Foundation SB160074


Restoration of the Eastern Mesa Top at Campus Point Along the CA Coastal Trail


This project will restore the eastern mesa top at Campus Point along the CA Coastal Trail, at the top of recently constructed public access stairway. This high-profile site provides educational and hands on opportunities for UCSB students, elementary school students and community members to participate and learn from this restoration of the degraded Campus Point coastal bluff site.



Lisa Stratton                                                                         10/1/12-9/30/17                    $59,800


US Fish & Wildlife Service F12AC00683


Recovery Activities for Nipomo Lupine


Lupinus nipomensis (Nipomo lupine) is a small annual plant in the pea family (Fabaceae). Historically and currently, the species is known only from the southwestern corner of San Luis Obispo County, California, scattered over an area of approximately 2 miles wide and 2 miles long. Lupinus nipomensis is restricted to one extended population of a few hundred individuals. The species is faced with a high risk of extinction due to the extremely low number of individuals and an intense degree of threats. The species may face extinction within the next 5 years.

To reduce the risk of extinction, we propose to implement the following recovery actions: Task 1: introduce populations to suitable habitat in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes region. Suitable habitat may include lands managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, California State Parks, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, and private lands; Task 2: conduct a seed bank analysis at the existing and historical occurrences, and Task 3: Undertake population enhancement though supplemental watering of existing occurrences.



Sangwon Suh                                                                        7/15/14-6/30/19                  $466,517


City University of New York (CUNY) 40E48-A


WSC-Category 3: A National Energy-Water System Assessment Framework (NEWS): Stage I Development


This effort focuses on the development of a multi-sector dynamic model for energy deployment, which will be integrated to energy-climate-water model to be developed by CUNY. The model should reflect technology development, and changes in energy demand over time considering both direct and indirect relationships between sectors of an economy.



Samuel Sweet; Christopher Evelyn                                    8/15/16-12/31/17                  $46,778


Department of Agriculture 2016-CS-11052007-086


Conservation Status of California Amphibians and Reptiles


The purpose of this agreement is to compile all available data from literature, reports, museum records and other related information on each of the taxa. Information to be included is on current and historic distributions with respect to National Forest lands, life history information, identified risks to their populations and habitat, dispersal capabilities, abundance within the Pacific Southwest Region, population and habitat trends, vulnerability of their habitats to degradation and loss, and life history and demographic conditions that relate to effective management of National Forest lands where each species occurs.



Samuel Sweet                                                                        6/10/09-6/9/18                      $29,914


Department of the Air Force FA4610-09-P-0102


California Tiger Salamander Survey


This project will provide an updated inventory of California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense). California tiger salamanders are known to occur off of VAFB along Hwy 246 and near Casmalia. Surveys for CTS on VAFB in 2001 and 2003 were inconclusive because of the dry weather during the survey years. During dry years, CTS may not emerge and breed in pools. In 2008, the habitat capability of pools for CTS were assessed by a member of the Recovery Team, Professor Samuel Sweet of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sweet assessed the pools based on ecological requirements of the species. For pools to be suitable, they must remain wet for a prolonged period, long enough to develop a prey base for the larval CTS. For pools to be occupied, they need to have surrounding habitat through which salamanders can disperse. The probability of occupancy increases in pools within 2 miles of occupied habitat off base. Suitable dispersal habitat needed microenvironments which were cool or shaded with gradual slopes down to the pools. The surrounding area of the pools needed friable soils or burrows which could shelter adult CTS during the nonbreeding season or years. In 2008, hoop-net and seine net samples of pools were conducted after pools had been inundated for about a month. No CTS were observed by these methods although samples were only taken once at each pool. The pools with suitable dispersal habitat had drift nets and pittraps installed; the drift nets will channel approaching CTS towards the pit traps. These traps were installed during the dry season and kept closed. Coverboards were also placed in areas with suitable dispersal and breeding habitat. Locations of coverboards and pools with driftnets were noted on GIS. Also, in 2008, surveys near VAFB noted whether the introduced barred salamander were present. Barred salamanders were noted in many areas, including the penitentiary pond and near Rucker Road next to La Purisima Mission. The close proximity of the barred salamanders highlights the conservation concerns for CTS. Barred salamanders may also be present on VAFB.




Christina (Naomi) Tague; Sarah Anderson; Andrew Plantinga   9/1/15-8/31/19    $1,724,821


National Science Foundation 1520847


Hazards SEES: Land Management Strategies for Confronting Risks and Consequences of Wildfire


A team consisting of natural scientists and social scientists from U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C.

Extension, and U.W. Seattle proposes to identify land management strategies that will mitigate

the risk and the impacts of wildfires. Federal and state agencies apply fuel treatment techniques

such as thinning and controlled burns. Fuel treatments often generate unintended consequences

for humans and ecosystems because neither the agencies nor the research community fully understands the interactions among fire, vegetation, and ecosystem services. Furthermore, agency decision makers may make decisions about fuel treatments on the basis of economic and political dynamics, rather than on the basis of the best science. To assess the consequences of current fuel treatment decisions and facilitate alternative strategies, the proposing team will integrate an empirical socio-economic analysis of agency decision making with RHESSys, a premier physical model of the linkages between ecological and hydrological processes.



Christina (Naomi) Tague                                                     10/1/13-9/30/18                  $320,825


University of California, Merced EAR-1331939


Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory


The Southern Sierra CZO is a community platform for research on critical-zone processes along a steep elevation gradients that spans the rain-snow transition and ecosystems from the oak savannahs to subalpine forests in Southern Sierra Nevada. The characteristic spatial differences along these gradients offer the opportunity to substitute space for time, making the CZO an excellent natural laboratory for studying how critical-zone processes respond to perturbations. This project continues the previous 5 years of work at the Sierra CZO. The overarching goal is to use a combination of measurements and modeling to advance our mechanistic understanding of the bi-directional links between longtime-scale geophysical processes and ecosystem structure/function and material (water, carbon, nutrient) fluxes. This work addresses both fundamental science questions about how landscape structure and function coevolve and applied questions about how the critical zone influences ecosystems services and material fluxes and their sensitivity to intentional (land management) and unintentional (climate, disturbance land use) drivers of change.



Toshiro Tanimoto                                                                3/1/16-2/28/19                    $197,763


National Science Foundation 1547523


Extreme Interaction Between Atmosphere and Solid Earth: Understanding the Forcing Mechanism by Hurricanes and its Application for Monitoring


Hurricanes generate strong ground motions in the solid earth that are one of the strongest cases of mechanical coupling between the atmosphere and the solid earth. This in turn suggests that seismic data may be used for monitoring the hurricane intensity, if its seismic-wave excitation mechanism could be understood. The Earthscope network unexpectedly recorded hurricane data in the last five years and exactly provide such information for understanding the atmosphere-land interaction. Our investigation on Hurricane Isaac (2012) has demonstrated that the Earthscope data do provide new important information on the seismic-wave excitation process. The primary goal of this project is to apply our current approach to other hurricanes from the Earthscope data and test the stochastic, seismic-wave excitation theory that has been developed. This knowledge will then be applied to monitoring the intensity changes of hurricanes while they are still in the oceans. If such a monitoring becomes possible, it may become a useful tool for hurricane-hazard mitigation.



Toshiro Tanimoto                                                                7/1/15-12/31/17                    $15,037


University of California SB160023


Monitoring Hurricanes by the US and Mexican Seismic Networks


Developing a new approach for monitoring hurricanes would be useful for mitigating hurricane hazards in the US and Mexico. We propose to develop a new seismic approach for the dual purpose of (i) improving our understanding of the hurricane dynamics and (ii) developing a new monitoring methodology for predicting the intensity of incoming hurricanes so that warning may be issued.


This new seismological approach will utilize seismic networks that have become available in the United States and Mexico in the last 10 years now allow us to monitor hurricanes from seismic ground motions. The intensification of hurricanes is associated with strong pressure changes at the Earth’s surface that in turn lead to larger excitation of seismic ground motions. While progress by aircraft, radar and satellite observations in the atmospheric sciences has brought great progress to our understanding of hurricanes in the last 50 years, these seismic data will provide a fresh, new perspective because continuous streams of seismic data provide completely different views of a hurricane, views from the ground. The first goal of this project is to improve our understanding of the hurricane dynamics. The second goal is to develop a practical scheme to monitor the intensification of hurricanes by seismic data. This is useful for hazard mitigation, especially if the intensity changes can be monitored remotely, while a hurricane is still in the ocean. We have done this line of work using seismic data only from the US so far. Addition of seismic data from the Mexican National Seismic Network will broaden the area of this study and is advantageous as some hurricanes hit Mexico before reaching the US. Our primary motivation for this project is the addition of the Mexican National Seismic Network data to the analysis and focus on studying hurricanes that pass through Mexico. We expect that there will be many features that we were not able to discover only with the US data.