A number of faculty use watersheds as spatially-integrated units for studying the hydrology and biogeochemistry of terrestrial and aquatic environments. A principal focus is on local, developing watersheds and their response to urbanization. Faculty involved in this area include:
- Chuck Bailey is a structural geologist interested in understanding the geometry and history of deformed rocks as well as the physical and chemical processes associated with deformation in the earth's crust.
- Randy Chambers directs the summer REU watershed research program. His students use biogeochemistry to detect "hot-spots" for nutrient pollution in streams and ponds impacted by development.
- Greg Hancock and his undergraduate students document changes in surface and groundwater flows in urbanizing streams and test the efficacy of storm water management methods in local developing watersheds.
- Jim Kaste's research group measures how ecosystem quality is impacted by human activities (e.g., groundwater withdrawal, acid and metal pollution, agriculture, urban development, etc.) and global change.