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Vivoni studying human impact on Southwest's ecosystems

April 23, 2009

A new ASU faculty member is taking on a major role in research expected to help improve environmental stewardship of federal lands in the southwestern United States.

Enrique Vivoni will explore the connection between the Earth’s hydrosphere and biosphere to identify how human impacts on ecosystems can indirectly affect the monsoon season in the Southwest. The monsoon season provides rain that is a crucial water source for the region.

Vivoni is a new associate professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering in the Ira Fulton School of Engineering.

He also is a recent recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), one of the nation’s highest honors for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers.

The award recognizes Vivoni’s “innovative and integrative hydrometeorological research to characterize and model land surface conditions and their influence on hydrologic and atmospheric processes [in the Southwest]. It also notes “his commitment to student development and [his] role in advising students . . .”

The award includes funding for the monsoon impact research “in support of critical government missions.” 

Vivoni was nominated for the award by the U.S. Department of Defense and its Terrestrial Sciences Program in the Army Research Office.

His accomplishments include a 2008 U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award. The award provides funding for another research project involving observations and predictions of the interactions of the hydrological cycle with ecological, atmospheric and geomorphologic processes in the Southwest and in northern Mexico.

Vivoni won the Most Promising Engineer Award at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference in 2007.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering in 1996, a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1998 and a doctorate in hydrology in 2003 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Previously, he was an associate professor of hydrology at the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology in Socorro, N.M.    Writers: Nicole Stabb and Matt Evans