Paolo D'Odorico

Paolo D'Odorico
University of Virginia
Environmental Sciences
291 McCormick rd. 400123
Fields of interest
Hydrology, Ecohydrology, Deforestation, Land-Atmosphere Interactions, Land Degradation

Description of scientific projects
My research focuses on the role of hydrological processes in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Starting from analyses of mechanisms underlying the coupling between hydrological processes and the biota, I have investigated the role of soil moisture dynamics in biogeochemical cycles, vegetation water stress, ecosystem productivity, land-atmosphere interactions, and soil susceptibility to wind erosion. Through field observations and modeling studies I have been studying new mechanisms of desertification that involve positive feedbacks between vegetation dynamics and resource availability or disturbance regime. Similarly, he is investigating the role of positive feedbacks between vegetation and resource (e.g., nutrients, light, or energy) availability in dry tropical forests, freshwater wetlands, mangrove swamps, and seagrass meadows. My research has also shown how environmental variability (e.g., climate fluctuations) may increase the complexity of ecosystem dynamics by inducing new bifurcations, enhancing biodiversity, stabilizing vegetation dynamics, or inducing vegetation pattern formation. I am currently investigating social-environmental processes underlying deforestation and land degradation in the developing world, and the associated impacts on hydrological processes and regional climate.