Steve Running from the University of Montana helped to invent the field of large-area, quantitative ecology. Steve was also my MS and PhD advisor – a role that doubtless was the most fulfilling of his career. This August, Steve celebrates his retirement with a reunion of lab members and close colleagues — a reunion that I will unfortunately miss due to an extended overseas trip. In lieu of my corporeal presence, I am contributing this Forecast interview to the party. I hope that the attendees — and the broader Forecast audience — will enjoy the look back at Steve’s long career and many contributions to the now-accepted but then-fringe use of remote sensing and modeling to address some of the big questions in terrestrial ecology.
And to capture a bit of Steve’s great enthusiasm for having fun, here’s a short album from our trip to Wimbledon 2010 (by my wife, Stephanie Best, who also puts in an appearance during our breakfast at E. Pellicci — also a couple from Dennis Baldocchi). As Steve put it at the time, “When are you going to get a chance to do that again?”
Mike and Steve enjoying a Pimm’s
Strawberries at Wimbledon.
The three of us at E. Pellicci.
Steve and Dennis Baldocchi in Avignon.
Bev Law and Steve, at Bev’s induction as an AGU Fellow.
Jay Famiglietti from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tells Mike about taking the plunge into using the GRACE gravity-measuring satellites for hydrology research. Keep in mind, this was at a time when hydrology was viewed as noise in the gravity signal, and that Jay was just starting off as an academic with his first graduate student, Matt Rodell. But making this kind of leap — from surface hydrology in Jay’s case — is of course what so often leads to step changes in science. Over the past decade, Jay and his colleagues have revealed the shocking reductions in groundwater in many water stressed parts of the world, including India and the Central Valley. Although perhaps best known for his work with GRACE, Jay is also a noted modeler, and much of his current work focuses on an ambitious data assimilation approach for simulating the real time hydrological state of the western United States at high resolution. And now, Jay is taking another plunge, this time to the University of Saskatchewan, where he’s landed a huge position as Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing.
Music: SODAR by Scanglobe and Parallel Park by Ziggurat, both CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.