March 29, 2018: IRES Faculty Seminar
Speaker: Laura Morillas

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


Resilience of natural and managed landscapes under increasing water scarcity and climate change

Abstract: Increasing water scarcity resulting from climate change and raising water global demand is one of the major challenges that ecosystems and humans are facing in the 21st century.  Research should provide answers to some crucial questions derived from this challenge: How will natural ecosystems respond to changing climatic conditions? What shifts can be predicted on the landscape as a result? How sustainably is water being used to feed humans? What can be done to reduce the water footprint of humanity? In an attempt to find some answers to those big questions, Dr. Morillas will discuss her past and present research regarding the resiliency of increasingly threaten natural and agricultural systems. Two study cases will be presented: 1) Piñon-Juniper woodlands in Southwestern USA affected by drought-driven tree mortality, and 2) agricultural systems in Northwestern Costa Rica threaten by ENSO-enhanced droughts.

Bio:  Dr. Laura Morillas is a Research Associate at UBC (EOAS and IRES) currently working with Professor Mark Johnson on the Agricultural Water Innovations in the Tropics (AgWIT) project. Her work at UBC has being focused on assessing and improving resiliency of tropical agricultural systems to climate change and increasing water scarcity, including research on the FuturAgua project. Previously, Dr. Morillas was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico where she studied the eco-hydrological consequences of drought-driven forest mortality (2013-2015). She completed her PhD at the Spanish National Research Council in 2013 focused on evapotranspiration modeling on semiarid landscapes.