Widespread use of bedrock water by woody plants across the U.S.

Check out my most recent paper (published in Nature, September, 2021) where we use a combination of field and remotely sensed data to estimate the extent and frequency of bedrock water use by woody plants across the continental U.S. We find that forests commonly exist on shallow soils underlain by bedrock and that bedrock water, in the form of rock moisture and groundwater, is likely a critical source for transpiration for many ecosystems.

Picture of a tree in front of a waterfall in Ghana

About Me

I am a full-time research assistant at the University of Texas at Austin with Daniella Rempe's group in the Jackson School of Geoscience. My current work revolves around understanding where, when, and why plants access water stored in bedrock.

More broadly, I am interested in untangling how the various processes and resource limitations which govern transpiration can be measured and categorized at various scales in order to isolate thresholds and recommendations for forest health under climate change. I love field work, but I am also a highly competent coder who can't get enough Python and Google Earth Engine!

I graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2016. I recieved my B.S. in Environmental Science, Geology in 2020 from the Jackson School of Geoscience at UT Austin. I am excited to begin my graduate work this coming fall at Stanford with Alexandra Konings' Remote Sensing Ecohydrology Group.

In my free time, I get outside as much as possible, play with my dog, perform bluegrass and folk music, and train for triathlons!

Contact me at erica.mccormick@utexas.edu. 

headshot of Erica McCormick climbing a tree


Explore All Projects

Click below to see my projects. These include field work in Belize, Michigan, New Mexico, and Central Texas with topics ranging from geoarchaeology to hydrogeology! See the "About Me" section above for links to my publications and CV.

Erica McCormick ecohydrologist sampling from a stream in a groundwater well field