Ecohydrology in practice: Strengths, conveniences, and opportunities

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*King, E.G., Caylor, K.K. (2011) “Ecohydrology in practice: Strengths, conveniences, and opportunities”, Ecohydrology,4(4), 608-612, doi: 10.1002/eco.248.

Fifteen years after the term ‘ecohydrology’ came into use to describe integrative research spanning the two parent disciplines, we discuss methodological traditions of the parent disciplines and assess trends in the methodologies utilized in the young hybrid field of ecohydrology. In particular, we explore whether the marriage between the disciplines is built on a marriage of methodological strengths from the parent fields or a marriage of convenient arenas of methodological overlap. In surveying 267 research articles from January 1996 to June 2010, we found that very few studies integrated the strongest methodological approaches from both parent disciplines. Hydrological strengths in the form of modelling studies are much more prevalent than ecological strengths of manipulative experimentation and hypothesis testing, and the two approaches are almost entirely decoupled in ecohydrological studies. Thus, there remains great opportunity to leverage the strengths of ecological and hydrological traditions to more aggressively build our understanding of coupled ecological and hydrological system functions.

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