Jay Frentress, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
I am interested in how land use and climate change affect the abundance and quality of water in catchments. My current work is focused at the interface between watersheds and streams – within near-stream riparian zones and floodplains – where I identify sources of water used by plants. Our study sites throughout the South Tyrol include intensively managed apple orchards, restored stream areas, and forested headwater catchments at a high elevations. These sites reflect a range of species, land use, management and dominant water sources (rainfall, snow, and glacial melt).
Specifically, I quantify the water sources used by trees using stable isotopes and trace the sources of this water through the hydrologic system. To do this, we sample the plant tissue, soil water, groundwater, rainfall and stream water and quantify their isotopic composition. We quantify isotopic signatures for these water components and use these signatures to determine where trees draw water from, and see how this changes throughout the growing season, across species, and and across sites with different geomorphic characteristics.