EESS talk on "Interplay of biotic and abiotic controls of catchment dynamics"


Event details

Date 25.10.2022 12:1513:15  
Speaker Dr Sara Bonetti, Tenure Track Assistant professor, Laboratory of Catchment Hydrology and Geomorphology (CHANGE), ALPOLE-Sion
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Catchments are natural integrators of a number of ecohydrological and geomorphological processes and providers of key ecosystem services. Yet, in light of the complex interactions of multiple biotic and abiotic processes acting at different spatio-temporal scales, our ability to describe catchment dynamics is still limited. This is particularly evident when climatic and anthropogenic disturbances affect the natural evolution of a landscape. Among the multiple factors shaping the development and functioning of a watershed, vegetation plays a key role in the regulation of water infiltration and overland flow, with repercussions on soil erosional process as well as carbon and nutrient fluxes. Here, I will discuss the role of soil, vegetation attributes, climatic conditions, and their spatial arrangement in shaping ecohydrological fluxes and erosional processes at different scales. I will focus on the contrasting features of natural and intensively managed landscapes to discuss efforts and opportunities in the analysis of anthropogenic disturbances and their impacts on water, carbon, and sediment fluxes. Progress on this front is paramount to foresee the consequences of climate and land use change, devise optimal land management strategies, and avoid critical transitions to unsustainable conditions.

Short biography:
Sara Bonetti joined EPFL in September 2022 as a tenure track assistant professor in Catchment Hydrology and Geomorphology. Before joining EPFL, she was an assistant professor at the Soil Physics and Land Management Group at Wageningen University (the Netherlands). She received a BSc degree in 2009 and a MSc degree in 2011 in Civil Engineering, both from the University of Padova (Italy). From 2012 to 2014 she was a research assistant, first at Duke University (USA) and then at the University of Padova (Italy). In 2018, she obtained her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University, with a doctoral dissertation on the analysis and modelling of landscape evolution and soil erosion. From August 2018 to July 2020, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics group at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and, from March 2020 to September 2021, she worked as a research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London (UK). Her work focuses on the development of quantitative tools for the description of coupled ecohydrological and geomorphological processes in natural and managed ecosystems.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • EESS - IIE


  • Prof. D. Andrew Barry, IIE Director


Soil-pant processes ecohydrological modelling river catchments soil structure soil erosion