April Featured Grad - Christine Albano

What brought you to DRI?

christine albanoSince completing my MS degree in Ecology at Colorado State University, I spent five years working in the non-profit sector as a program manager for the Grand Canyon Trust, where my focus was on federal lands (i.e., lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service) conservation and stewardship. When I moved to Reno/Tahoe a few years ago, I maintained this thread by taking a position at UC Davis working with the Southwest Climate Science Center – which seeks to develop information to help natural resource managers anticipate and adapt to climate change. After getting back into academic research, I realized that I really wanted and needed to take the next step to get my PhD. DRI was a good fit for me given its location, research expertise on arid western lands, and because of the opportunities to work with and learn from my advisors and others at DRI.

What are you studying?

I am working my way through the core hydrology program curriculum right now – small watershed hydrology, environmental geochemistry, groundwater hydrology, and fluid dynamics. I’m looking forward to taking additional courses in statistics and atmospheric sciences over the coming two years, and in the meantime, also try to expand and improve my programming skills– whether it be through classes or brute force trial and error!

christine albano mountains

What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

I am working Dr. Michael Dettinger (USGS) and Dr. Maureen McCarthy and the rest of the Water for the Seasons team on a project that aims to identify water management strategies that will be sustainable under changing climate in the Truckee/Carson River systems. My role is to develop one of several decade-long climate extreme scenarios that will be fed into hydrologic models to understand potential impacts and water management options. I’m developing a similar scenario at the regional scale (for the Southwestern US) for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Science Applications for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) program that will be used for emergency response planning by a variety of stakeholders within the region. The research focus associated with this work involves developing an understanding of the spatial and temporal synchronies of climate extremes (namely, drought, heat waves, and extreme storms) across this region historically and in the future, and the extent of their impacts on southwestern ecosystems. I’ve also been interested and involved in research surrounding the ecological impacts of atmospheric river storms and plan to continue to pursue this avenue of research during my PhD.

christine albano trees

What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?

In addition to completing my research project, coursework, and PhD, I’m hoping to develop my skills in programming and statistics and increase my knowledge about the hydrologic processes that drive ecological processes and patterns of biodiversity.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?

I’ve been slowly circumnavigating the Great Basin in a clockwise direction for most of my life, having lived in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. I feel like the circle is complete now that I live in Reno/Tahoe, and my husband and I bought a house here, so am planning to stay here for awhile! I like to spend most of my fun time outdoors. My main winter sport is backcountry snowboarding and in the summer I like to road and mountain bike, paddleboard, and enjoy the sunshine on the beautiful beaches of Lake Tahoe whenever I can.