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Ecological research

Professor Gil Bohrer is studying the mechanisms that control the interaction between the atmosphere and the land surface, focusing on small-scale and high-resolution details. Prof. Bohrer develops hydrodynamic models of individual plants, and atmospheric models of flux and dispersion that include the effects of canopy structures at the individual tree-crown scale. Eddy-flux and micrometeorological measurements are used to observe and characterize the same phenomena that he simulates in the models.

Particular applications include modeling the wind-power generation potential on the OSU campus; modeling the effects of vegetation windbreaks on dust dispersion from large commercial chicken coops; studying the greenhouse gas budget of urban wetlands and how it is affected by vegetation around the wetland; the effects of canopy structure on smoke dispersal from prescribed fires and on the combustibility of forest-floor fuels; the effects of forest gaps and deforestation on seed dispersal and ecosystem connectivity in the US and in a tropical forest in Panama; the coupling between forest structural heterogeneity and soil moisture variability in forests and the effects of successional changes to forest structure on its greenhouse gas budget in Michigan; understanding evaporation from the coral-reef lagoon in the Red Sea, Israel; and the effects of wind and weather conditions on the flight strategy and movement-decision parameters of migrating birds.