Alison Whipple


Raised in a small Northern California agricultural community, Alison has long been aware of the need to balance human and ecosystem requirements, which has motivated her academic and professional career.   Her interests encompass the impacts of climate change and management strategies on hydrologic regimes, the spatial distribution of water within floodplains, and ecological implications. Broadly, Alison’s research explores land-water connections. She studies river flood regimes and floodplain inundation patterns, applying 2D hydrodynamic modeling to understand spatial and temporal variability of floods with different characteristics, such as timing, duration, and magnitude. Her research provides insights into how to better support different ecological functions. Overall, her research provides needed information to improve integration of flow management and restoration science. She is currently a PhD Candidate in the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group and part of the Climate Change, Water, and Society IGERT. She is involved in the Center’s research activities within the lower Cosumnes River floodplain and is advised by Professor Joshua Viers. Previously, she studied historical ecology with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, where she developed in-depth understanding of links between physical and ecological processes in California’s early 1800s landscapes. Her experiences leading the SFEI’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Study inspired her pursuit of how to achieve more functional landscapes, particularly through land-water interactions, in the future. Alison received her B.S. and M.S. in Stanford University’s interdisciplinary environmental science major, Earth Systems, with her thesis focused on low-flow characteristics of small tributary streams to the Russian River, California. 

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