Ecohydrology @ Marquette

We study the physics and engineering of surface hydrological processes. Our research uses models and experiments to quantify water movement in the environment and its role in ecological engineering problems, such as:

  • agricultural water and nutrient management,
  • design and control of green and grey stormwater infrastructure, and
  • impacts of extreme drought.


Student Opportunities

We are looking for graduate students (masters and PhD) and postdoctoral scholars to join our team. If interested, please contact me directly.




Anthony J. Parolari, Principal investigator

I am a hydrologist and civil engineer by training with research interests in the role of water in ecosystems, particularly engineered ecosystems like agriculture and green infrastructure. My research develops quantitative models that link hydrologic variability to ecosystem processes, including plant productivity and soil biogeochemistry. I also study the social-ecological feedbacks that drive human interaction with the water cycle. These models are used to advance theory and to interpret empirical data, which improves basic understanding of ecosystem dynamics that can be leveraged to solve engineering and control problems.



We are looking for talented and motivated graduate students to join our team. Information regarding the Masters and PhD graduate programs in Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at Marquette can be found here and here. Please feel free to contact me directly with questions or interest.










Dynamics and impacts of extreme drought

Extreme droughts are associated with a wide range of land surface impacts, including decreased agricultural productivity, tree water stress and mortality, and enhanced wind-driven dust erosion. Our research seeks to understand the internal mechanisms in surface hydrological and ecological systems that propagate reduced rainfall into severe and sometimes irreversible consequences.


Plant-soil feedbacks & ecosystem dynamics

Plant and soil processes are tightly linked: plants stabilize soil and enhance water storage capacity; while soil micro-biota decompose plant litter and weather inorganic substrate to provide nutrients essential for plant growth. These plant-soil interactions are strongly mediated by the water cycle and its inherent variability. Our research seeks to understand the practical consequences of these interactions, by developing predictive models relevant to ecosystem managers.


Rainfall-runoff processes and real-time control of stormwater infrastructure

Stormwater runoff is controlled by soil type, climate, vegetation, land use, and other factors. In urban and agricultural settings, hydrological impacts of land development are mitigated by stormwater infrastructure. Our research seeks to improve model representation of rainfall-runoff processes and to develop sensing and real-time control technologies based on probabilistic rainfall and runoff forecasts to improve water management.


I teach courses in hydraulic engineering (undergraduate), urban hydrology and stormwater management (undergraduate/graduate), modeling in water resources engineering (graduate), and environmental fate and transport (graduate). My current teaching schedule is:

Spring 2018: CEEN 3210 Hydraulic Engineering

Fall 2017: CEEN4230/5230 Urban Hydrology and Stormwater Management

                 CEEN6350 Modeling in Water Resources Engineering


Previous courses:

Optimal Environmental Sensing

Duke Research Integration Voyage for Engineers



See a full list of publications and citations here.         

Calabrese, S., A.J. Parolari, and A. Porporato (2017) Hydrologic transport of dissolved inorganic carbon and its control on chemical weathering. Accepted in Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface.

Liu, Y., A.J. Parolari, M. Kumar, C.W. Huang, G.G. Katul, and A. Porporato (2017) Increasing atmospheric humidity and CO2 concentration alleviate forest mortality risk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1704811114.

Parolari, A.J., M.L. Mobley, A.R. Bacon, G.G. Katul, D. deB. Richter, and A. Porporato (2017) Boom and bust carbon-nitrogen dynamics during reforestation. Ecological Modelling, 360, 108-119, doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.06.023.

Bartlett, M.S., A.J. Parolari, J.J. McDonnell, and A. Porporato (2017) Reply to Comment on "Beyond the SCS-CN method: A theoretical framework for spatially lumped rainfall-runoff response." Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2017WR020456.

Huang, C.W., J.C. Domec, T. Duman, G. Manoli, A.J. Parolari, and G.G. Katul (2017) The role of plant water storage on water fluxes within the coupled soil-plant system. New Phytologist, doi:10.111/nph.14273.

Parolari, A.J., D. Li, E. Bou-Zeid, G.G. Katul, and S. Assouline (2016) Climate, not conflict, explains extreme Middle East dust storm. Environmental Research Letters, 11(11), 114013, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/11/114013.

Bartlett, M.S., A.J. Parolari, J.J. McDonnell, and A. Porporato (2016) Framework for event-based semi-distributed modeling that unifies the SCS-CN method, VIC, PDM, and TOPMODEL. Water Resources Research, 52(9), 7036-7052, doi:10.1002/2016WR19084.

Bartlett, M.S., A.J. Parolari, J.J. McDonnell, and A. Porporato (2016), Beyond the SCS-CN method: A theoretical framework for spatially lumped rainfall-runoff response. Water Resources Research, 52(6), 4608-4627, doi:10.1002/2015WR018439.

Parolari, A.J. and A. Porporato (2016), Forest soil carbon and nitrogen cycles under biomass harvest: stability, transient response, and feedback. Ecological Modelling, 329, 64-76, doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.03.003.

Pelak, N.F., A.J. Parolari, and A. Porporato (2016), Bistable plant-soil dynamics and biogenic controls on the soil production function. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, doi:10.1002/esp.3878.

Bartlett, M.S., E. Daly, J.J. McDonnell, A.J. Parolari, and A. Porporato (2015), Stochastic rainfall-runoff model with explicit soil moisture dynamics. Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 471, 20150389, doi:10.1098/rspa.2015.0389.

Porporato, A., X. Feng, S. Manzoni, Y. Mau, A.J. Parolari, and G. Vico (2015), Ecohydrological modeling in agroecosystems: examples and challenges. Water Resources Research, 51(7), 5081-5099, doi:10.1002/2015WR017289.

Parolari, A.J., G.G. Katul, and A. Porporato (2015), The Doomsday Equation and 50 years beyond: new perspectives on the human-water system. WIREs Water, 2(4), 407-414, doi:10.1002/wat2.1080.

Parolari, A.J., M.L. Goulden, and R.L. Bras (2015), Ecohydrological controls on grass and shrub above-ground net primary productivity in a seasonally dry climate. Ecohydrology, 8(8), 1572-1583, doi:10.1002/eco.1605.

Parolari, A.J., G.G. Katul, and A. Porporato (2014), An ecohydrological perspective on drought-induced forest mortality, Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences, 119, 1-17, doi:10.1002/2013JG002592.

Parolari, A.J., M.L. Goulden, and R.L. Bras (2012), Fertilization effects on the ecohydrology of a southern California annual grassland, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L08405, doi:10.1029/2012GL051411. (Open access at: DSpace@MIT)

Bain, D.J., M.B. Green, J.L. Campbell, et al. (2012), Legacy Effects in Material Flux: Structural Catchment Changes Predate Long-Term Studies. BioScience, 62(6), 575-584, doi:10.1525/bio.2012.62.6.8. (Open access at: DSpace@MIT)

Pastore, C.L., M.B. Green, D.J. Bain, et al. (2010), Tapping environmental history to recreate America's colonial hydrology. Environmental Science and Technology, 44(23), 8798-8803, doi:10.1021/es102672c.

Parolari, Anthony. The nitrogen cycle and ecohydrology of seasonally dry grasslands. Ph.D. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2012. (DSpace@MIT)