Research Activities

IDEAS-Watershed is organized around six Research Activities

  • Three Partnership Activities, each undertaken jointly with one of SBR’s interdisciplinary Science Focus Areas (SFAs) (LBNL, ORNL, PNNL)
  • CONUS Activity to advance a continental-scale simulation platform that can bridge between individual sites and provide larger-scale context
  • Reaction Network Activity partnering with SBR’s Fine-scale SFAs
  • Shared Infrastructure Activity that is coordinating the development of common workflow tools and software interfaces to support interoperability

SFA Partnership Activities

Addressing biogeochemical cycling in streams across a wide range of stream orders in disparate climates and land-use conditions, from

  • a pristine mountainous headwater catchment (LBNL, Watershed Function SFA: East River Use Case) to
  • a fourth-order mercury-contaminated stream in deciduous broadleaf forest in a semitropical humid climate (ORNL, Critical Interfaces SFA: East Fork Poplar Creek Use Case)
  • to a heavily managed ninth-order river (PNNL, River Corridor SFA: Columbia River Use Case).

The three regional SFAs share a long-term objective of elucidating how surface water/groundwater exchanges across a range of temporal and spatial scales control watershed-scale biogeochemical cycling.

Common near-term modeling activities for the interdisciplinary SFAs focus on

  • surface water and groundwater exchange in watershed headwaters and stream/river corridors
  • how biogeochemical processes in spatially limited metabolically active zones interact with steady and unsteady hyporheic exchange flows to control reach-to-watershed-scale export of nutrients and inorganic contaminants
  • developing multiscale strategies that allow coupled hydrologic and biogeochemical processes to be represented at their native scales but expressed at watershed scale, rather than the current status of hydrologic modeling at large scale and biogeochemical modeling at smaller scales.

CONUS Activity

Scale across the SFAs to provide an integrated modeling framework that spans the United States at a relatively high spatial resolution.

The CONUS Activity allows us to make connections between SFAs and to work from small headwater streams up to major river systems that encompass millions of square kilometers. The CONUS model connects our work to other national-scale modeling efforts and provides the ability to upscale to spatial resolutions relevant for global Earth systems modeling. Conversely, the rigorous reach-scale analyses conducted within the SFAs provide a testing ground to evaluate and improve the performance of national models.

Reaction Network Activity

Bridge across the SFAs and develop the use of process-explicit reaction models for aqueous complexation, surface complexation, mineral dissolution-precipitation, microbially mediated reactions, microbial dynamics, and similar processes.

The Reaction Network Activity partners with SBR’s fine-scale SFAs at Stanford Linear Acceleratory Center (SLAC), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to provide the watershed-focused partnerships with improved representation of those biogeochemical processes using molecular, genomic, metabolic, solid-phase, and aqueous chemistry data to enable

Shared Infrastructure Activity

Create and advance multiscale workflow tools and software interfaces that can be shared among the SFAs to support those multi-scale models to

  • Extend the BER ecosystem of interoperable software tools and components to better represent hydrobiogeochemical processes in dynamic stream/river corridors along the river continuum.
  • Provide software tools and workflows that can be shared among the SFAs as well as the critical (and currently incomplete) experience base on how to parameterize and use the new capabilities.