Symposium History

Research in the catchment sciences has evolved along divergent pathways in Japan and the US, which has been a source of discussion in previous seminars where questions such as the following have been asked:

  • How does US and Japan catchment hydrology differ?
  • What questions motivate research in the US compared to Japan?
  • How much overlap is there in approach and content?

HP Special Issue Cover 2001Much of the catchment research in the US has been motivated by explaining the patterns and processes that give rise to the composition of stream water chemistry [Church, 1997; McDonnell and Tanaka, 2001] or has been dominated by engineering approaches. In comparison, Japanese catchment research has historically focused on vadose zone hydrology and runoff production mechanisms [Bras et al., 1988]. As pointed out by McDonnell et al. [2001], another primary difference between Japan and the US catchment science communities is that interdisciplinary approaches are less common in Japan compared to the US, but monitoring technologies are sophisticated and novel. Japanese catchment research is often highly detailed and descriptive compared to US research, which is often aimed at integration and synthesis. These two complementary research approaches are the essence of success in the previous US-Japan joint seminars. In the 12 years since the last seminar, much has changed in the catchment sciences. Linkages between biogeochemistry and hydrology developed in the 1990s and formed the focus of the previous US-Japan joint seminar [McDonnell et al., 2001]. However, today new measurement and analytical techniques (e.g., cavity-ring down spectroscopy, in situ UV sensors for high frequency measurements, and wireless sensors networks) and research networks (e.g., Critical Zone Observatories) that were not available even 12 years ago, have ushered in a new era for the catchment sciences. This provides us with an opportunity to revisit the theme of linking hydrological and biogeochemical processes and understanding in catchments [McDonnell et al., 2001]. Moreover, we expand on this prior theme to examine how the coupling of hydrology and biogeochemistry provides a lens for viewing catchment responses to climatic and environmental change.

Bras, R. L., H. Hino, P. K. Kitanidis, and K. Takeuchi (1988), Hydrologic research: the USA- Japan Experience, in Journal of Hydrology, edited, p. 518.

Church, M. R. (1997), Hydrochemistry of forested catchments, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, 25, 23-59.

McDonnell, J. J., and T. Tanaka (2001), On the future of forest hydrology and biogeochemistry, Hydrological Processes, 15, 2053-2055.

McDonnell, J. J., T. Tanaka, M. J. Mitchell, and N. Ohte (2001), Foreword: hydrology and biogeochemistry of forested catchments, in Hydrol Processes, edited, pp. 1673-1674.

Yevjevich, V., and C. E. Downs (1971), U.S./Japan Bilateral Seminar in Hydrology, Eos Trans. AGU, 52(7), 546-547.