Courses at SFU

GEOG 311 Hydrology

Introduction to the hydrologic cycle, with an emphasis on the hydrology of British Columbia.
Typically offered every fall semester. Course outline

GEOG 418 Ecohydrology

Interdisciplinary exploration of the interactions between plants and hydrologic processes, with an emphasis on primary literature.
Typically offered in spring semesters. Course outline

GEOG 606 Research Design and Analytical Techniques in Physical Geography

Research design, data collection and quantitative methods in physical geography.
Typically offered every fall semester. Course outline

Elder Creek


Contact Jesse to learn about opportunities.

W. Jesse Hahm

Assistant Professor (January, 2020 - present), Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

Academic Background

Postdoctoral Scholar, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas-Austin
PhD, Earth and Planetary Science, University of California-Berkeley
MSc, Geology and Geophysics, University of Wyoming
BA, McGill University

Dr. Dana Lapides

Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

Dana is an SFU Department of Geography and US Forest Service ORISE postdoctoral fellow.

Robert Ehlert

Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

Robert is a new MSc student in the SFU Department of Geography.


We are actively seeking new MSc and PhD students to join our Hydrology research group in the Department of Geography at the Burnaby, BC, SFU campus. Funding for graduate students in the department is available from a mixture of teaching assistantships and research grants depending on the availability of support. Opportunities for undergraduates also exist. Interested applicants should contact Jesse directly before applying (whahm@sfu.ca), and share i) a cover letter outlining research interests, ii) a CV, iii) unofficial transcripts, and iv) the names and contact information of references. Please forgive overlooked e-mails or delayed responses due to the large volume of e-mail traffic! Our recent publications provide the best portrait of the scope of active research, but other projects are always possible.

Lab alumni

Christine Leclerc (USRA scholar)

Sijin Chen (Honours thesis)


Google Scholar Profile

  • Evidence for widespread woody plant use of water stored in bedrock.
    E. McCormick, DN Dralle, Hahm, W.J., A. Tune, L. Schmidt, K.D. Chadwick, D.M. Rempe. Nature, 2021.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Accounting for snow in the estimation of root-zone water storage capacity from precipitation and evapotranspiration fluxes.
    DN Dralle, WJ Hahm, KD Chadwick, E McCormick, DM Rempe. Hydrology and Earth System Science, 2021.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • The relationship between topography, bedrock weathering, and water storage across a sequence of ridges and valleys.
    MA Pedrazas, WJ Hahm, MH Huang, DN Dralle, MD Nelson, R Breunig, K Fauria, AB Bryk, WE Dietrich, DM Rempe. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface. 2021
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Variability of headwater stream network extents controlled by flow regime and network hydraulic scaling.
    DA Lapides, CD Leclerc, H Moidu, DN Dralle, WJ Hahm. Hydrological Processes. 2021
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Oak transpiration drawn from the weathered bedrock vadose zone in the summer dry season.
    WJ Hahm, DM Rempe, DN Dralle, TE Dawson, WE Dietrich. Water Resources Research. 2020
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Plants as sensors: vegetation response to rainfall predicts root-zone water storage capacity in Mediterranean-type climates.
    DN Dralle, WJ Hahm, DM Rempe, NJ Karst, LDL Anderegg, SE Thompson, TE Dawson, WE Dietrich. Environmental Research Letters. 2020.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Digging deeper: what the critical zone perspective adds to the study of plant ecophysiology.
    TE Dawson, WJ Hahm, K Crutchfield-Peters. New Phytologist. 2020.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Low subsurface water storage capacity relative to annual rainfall decouples Mediterranean plant productivity and water use from rainfall variability.
    WJ Hahm, DN Dralle, DR Rempe, AB Bryk, SE Thompson, TE Dawson, WE Dietrich. Geophysical Research Letters, 2019.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Lithologically controlled subsurface critical zone thickness and water storage capacity determine regional plant community composition.
    WJ Hahm, DR Rempe, DN Dralle, TE Dawson, SM Lovill, AB Bryk, D Bish, J Schieber, WE Dietrich. Water Resources Research, 2019.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Arrested development: Erosional equilibrium in the southern Sierra Nevada, California, maintained by feedbacks between channel incision and hillslope sediment production.
    RP Callahan, KL Ferrier, JC Dixon, A Dosseto, WJ Hahm, BS Jessup, SN Miller, C Hunsaker, D Johnson, LS Sklar, & CS Riebe, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 2019.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Controls on the distribution and resilience of Quercus garryana: ecophysiological evidence of oak’s water-limitation tolerance.
    WJ Hahm, WE Dietrich, TE Dawson. Ecosphere, 2018.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Drainage from the critical zone: lithologic controls on the persistence and spatial extent of wetted channels during the summer dry season.
    SM Lovill, WJ Hahm, WE Dietrich. Water Resources Research, 2018.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Quantification of the seasonal hillslope water storage that does not drive streamflow.
    DN Dralle, WJ Hahm, DM Rempe, NJ Karst, SE Thompson, WE Dietrich. Hydrological Processes, 2018.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Controls on deep critical zone architecture: A historical review and four testable hypotheses.
    CS Riebe, WJ Hahm, SL Brantley. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2016.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Testing for supply-limited and kinetic-limited chemical erosion in field measurements of regolith production and chemical depletion.
    KL Ferrier, CS Riebe, WJ Hahm. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 2016.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Bedrock composition regulates mountain ecosystems and landscape evolution.
    WJ Hahm, CS Riebe, CE Lukens, S Araki. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
    See also: Coevolution of life and landscapes (Commentary). (pdf), (journal website - external link) S Porder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014.
  • Landscape response to tipping points in granite weathering: The case of stepped topography in the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory.
    BS Jessup, WJ Hahm, SN Miller, JW Kirchner, CS Riebe. Applied Geochemistry Supplement, 2011.
    (journal website - external link), (pdf).
  • Critical Zone Ecohydrology of the Northern California Coast Ranges (PhD Dissertation).
    WJ Hahm, 2019.
    (eScholarship website - external link), (pdf).
Rancho Venada

Outreach and Press

  • EOS News: Thirsty Plants Pull Water from Bedrock (external link), 2021
  • SFU News: Could the Water in Bedrock Save our Forest Ecosystems from Climate Change? (external link), 2021; UT News: Water in Bedrock is Sustaining Trees Across Country (external link)
  • UT News: Research Inside Hill Slopes Could Help Wildfire and Drought Prediction. (external link), 2021
  • EOS Science Update: How Some Trees Survive the Summer Dry Season. (external link), 2020
  • SFU Research News: Will bedrock save our coastal ecosystems from climate change?. (external link), 2020
  • EOS Science Update: Linking Critical Zone Water Storage and Ecosystems. (external link), 2020
  • Ringing in the Hydrological New Year: Interview on Mediterranean Ecohydrology and Eel River CZO discoveries and resolutions with David Dralle, Mary Ann Madej, Tim Bailey, and Chip Tittman. KMUD's Institute for Sustainable Forestry Hour - Redwood Community Radio) (~60 minute MP3 recording), 2019
  • UC Berkeley Press Release: Does limited underground water storage make plants less susceptible to drought? (external link), 2019
  • EOS Research Spotlight: Answer to California Landscape Riddle Lies Underground. (external link), 2019
  • Cyanobacteria: ancient life in the Eel River Ecosystem (Link to video stream on Vimeo), 2019
  • Oregon White Oak's future and bedrock-plant-stream interactions in the Northern California Coast Ranges (Interview with KMUD's Monday Morning Magazine - Redwood Community Radio) (~20 minute MP3 recording), 2018
  • Studying the Eel River Watershed (Video for interactive exhibit at the Lawrence Hall of Science) (external link - Youtube), 2017
  • Complex Research Program Moving Ahead at Livermore Woman’s Ranch. (external link) Livermore Independent, 2016. (pdf)
  • National Study Taking Place At Livermore Woman’s Ranch. (external link) Livermore Independent, 2015. (pdf)
  • Sierra Nevada bedrock shapes vegetation and topography. (pdf) Oleson, T, Earth Magazine, 2014.
  • UW Study: Bedrock Influences Forests More Than Previously Believed. (external link) University of Wyoming Press Release, 2014.
  • World's Largest Trees Help Explain California Forests' Bald Spots. (external link) Livescience.com article, 2014; Scientific American version: (external link)
  • Study Finds Forest Growth Dictated By Bedrock, Not Just Climate. (external link) Wyoming Public Media, 2014.
  • Granite bedrock and sequoia forests 'communicate' in the Sierra Nevada. (external link) National Science Foundation, 2014.
  • Granite Contributions to the Sierra Nevada. (external link) California Academy of Sciences, 2014.
Quercus garryana