ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Scott Jasechko used his road trip from Canada to Albuquerque, where he was about to start a graduate program at UNM, to gather water samples.
Less than two years later, his study of those water samples has landed him in Nature, the prestigious science journal. Jasechko is the lead author of "Terrestrial Water Fluxes Dominated by Transpiration," a study that found plants use a vast amount of fresh water in their life cycles, which can help predict future climate change effects on water resources.
That Jasechko, a doctoral candidate in Earth and Planetary Sciences, was published in Nature is "absolutely huge" and "quite remarkable," study co-author Peter Fawcett said. Fawcett, a UNM associate professor, helped supervise Jasechko, along with second co-author Zach Sharp, also a UNM professor. They worked with three scientists from Alberta Innovates, a Canadian research institution.
Fawcett said he can't recall any other graduate student in his 16 years or so at UNM who was lead author on a study in Nature.
The study is "really significant because it tells us that if we actually change vegetation in a significant way, we can really alter the flux of water from the surface to the atmosphere," Fawcett said.