Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ecohydrology definition and facts

Ecohydrology is by definition a scientific field inside the science of ecology which specifically studies the interactions between water bodies and different ecosystems. More specifically, ecohydrology does not only study how certain organisms such as plants adapt to their water environment, but also vice versa, namely how does vegetation effect the water streams. This is the reason why we are talking about the interaction between the water and ecosystems when talking about ecohydrology.

Ecohydrology studies the flow of water on, above, and below the surface on the earth, and its alterations caused by the interactions with various ecosystems. In order to get the comprehensive picture of this interaction ecohydrologists need to study both the terrestrial as well as the aquatic systems. Terrestrial systems are for instance forests while the underground water bodies are for instance water and lakes.

Ecohydrology is not only connected with ecology and biology but also with the chemistry, geomorphology, and hydrology.

The starting premise of ecohydrology as science is the connection between the plant physiology and water availability. This means that in areas when there are abundant water resources such as rainforests the growth of plants depends more on the quality of nutrients in soil unlike is some arid areas where plant growth primarily depend on the water that can be extracted from the soil.

Studying ecohydrology is important because water management is going to become even more important in years to come once water resources become scarcer. Ecohydrology provides valuable information to water managers so they can evaluate the condition of water resources and it also provides valuable information to ecologists in their effort to protect ecosystems.

Ecohydrology is also closely connected with hydrobiology. Hydrobiology is the scientific field that studies all life in water.

Ecohydrology could also play important role in determining how will climate change influence the interaction between water bodies and ecosystems.

Ecohydrology is fast-emerging new discipline that is getting lot of supporters because of its ability to connect ecology and hydrology.