U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Subsurface Biological Research

Students pulling core samples from the Columbia River.

As the rate of environmental change intensifies, a number of large-scale drivers of change increasingly impact watershed functions that play a central role in numerous energy-water resource issues. In the Columbia River basin, for example, these drivers include changes in land use and land cover, demographic shifts and population growth, and modifications in agricultural and irrigation patterns.

Supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, PNNL researchers and collaborators are developing mechanistic understanding of coupled hydrologic and biogeochemical processes in large dynamic rivers and associated watersheds, and translating that understanding into multiscale numerical models. In so doing, we aim to improve our ability to predict the impacts of environmental change and modulating factors on water quality, nutrient cycling and ecosystem health.

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