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Utilizing Native Isopods to Assess the Connectivity and Quality of Oklahoma Groundwater

Ronald Bonett and Alexander Hess

Due to their abundance, ease of collection, and wide distribution, aquatic isopods provide excellent utility for mapping watershed connectivity. Stream surveys have found isopods to be one of the most common benthic invertebrates, allowing for rapid detection and robust data collection. Further, groundwater isopods are distinct in appearance from surface counterparts, due to a loss of pigmentation and elongation of appendages. Lastly, isopod species are detritivores, filling a key trophic level in the nutrient cycling of groundwater systems and acting as bio-accumulators of waste products.

Article: Predicting Oklahoma Groundwater Hydrology Using Isopod Distributions (by Pamela Abit)

Economics of Groundwater Interaction between Producers and Competing Crops

Karthik Ramaswamy with Dr. Art Stoecker

The project will estimate the benefits and costs from use of the remaining groundwater in Oklahoma Panhandle when multiple producers compete for a common groundwater source. In most parts of the southern Great Plains, the water-levels been falling steadily since the1970s. Water-levels in the Oklahoma Panhandle Counties of Beaver, Cimarron, and Texas are declining at the rate of 1 to 3 feet per year. In Oklahoma, irrigation accounts for 86 percent of total groundwater use from Ogallala aquifer. 
Read the short article summary, How Crop Arrangement can extend the Life of the Ogallala Aquifer by Abu Mansaray and Kevin Wagner (5/30/2019)

The Impact of Drought on Vegetation Water Use in Different Climatic Divisions across Oklahoma

Kul Bikram Khand with Dr. Saleh Taghvaeian

Water consumed by vegetation is a major component of surface water budget, having a significant impact on water availability at variable scales. The state of Oklahoma lies between eastern humid and western semi-arid climates with nine climatic divisions delineated based on precipitation and temperature gradients. These climatic differences impact the water use by different vegetation. At the same time, the vegetation water use behavior is impacted by weather extremes such as drought. Therefore, understanding the complex and spatially variable interactions among vegetation water use, climatic conditions, and drought can provide decision maker with critical information required to develop and optimize water management plans to conserve available water resources for agricultural and natural ecosystems.


Video: Kul Khand: One of the Water Center's First Funded Students 

Modeling Soil Moisture under Various Land Cover Types: Using Long-term Grassland Monitoring Data to Estimate Soil Moisture in Oklahoma Forests

Briana M. Wyatt with Drs. Tyson E. Ochsner and Chris B. Zou

Soil moisture is an essential variable which affects climatic, hydrological, agricultural, and ecological systems. Due to the impact of soil moisture on important earth processes, in-situ soil monitoring networks are becoming more prevalent. However, the majority of soil moisture monitoring networks consider only one land cover type, usually grasslands, which limits the use of these data for areas with mixed land cover types. The Oklahoma Mesonet has monitored soil moisture at over 100 grassland sites for nearly two decades, but large areas of forest (12 million acres, or 28% of the state’s land area), cropland (~8 million acres, or 18%), and other land cover types have gone largely unmonitored.


More information and reports from previous projects are in our searchable Online Journal Systems page.

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