Dr. Bano Mehdi-Schulz

Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

I am an ecohydrologist working at the interface of hydrological and agricultural sciences. My research focuses on quantifying the impacts of anthropogenic changes to water quality in river basins.

I lead the research group “Eco-hydrological and Land Use Modelling” at the Institute for Hydrology and Water Management at the BOKU. We are interested in the hydrological processes related to the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum that affect non-point source pollution, and we are interested in determining and quantifying future agricultural land use change.

We work with models as tools, while reporting and quantifying their uncertainty. We develop methods for using ecohydrological models to gain a holistic approach to determining future water quality changes. We answer questions, such as:

About me

I received my B.Sc. in Soil Science, an M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering, and my Ph.D. from the Department of Geography, all from McGill University. In 2009 I received an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to undertake her Ph.D. research in which I collaborated closely with the Ludwig Maximilian Universität. I investigated the impacts of future climate change on crop production; farmer decision-making factors; the local drivers of land use change; N and P transport by hydrological processes from cropped fields, and water quality threshold exceedances.

Eco-hydrology and land use change

Ecohydrology is related to the interplay between climate, soil and vegetation, with temporal and spatial variabilities linked to processes that are at the core of hydrology itself (Rodriguez-Iturbe, 2000). Ecohydrology has been defined as “the study of the functional interrelations between hydrology and biota at the catchment scale” (Zalewski, 2000).

The Eco-hydrological and Land Use Modelling group was set up in 2015. In our group, we apply this definition of ecohydrology to agricultural landscapes and examine the relationship between ecology and hydrology at catchment to field scales with simulation models to gain an understanding of processes and for managing water resources.

Research Projects

I collaborate with natural as well as social scientists and apply field research methods, as well as modelling approaches to my research.

Research Team

PhD Student Thesis Title Completion
Christoph Schürz Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis of discrete model inputs in ecohydrological modeling 2020
Elizabeth Odusanya Multi-site calibration and validation of SWAT with satellite-based evapotranspiration in data sparse catchments 2022
Cong Wang Developing a SWAT-submodule to simulate nitrous oxide emissions from typical agricultural catchments in Austria 2022
Claudine Egger Coupling an ABM to an ecohydrological model for evaluating land use change impacts on water quality under future conditionsa on-going
Gabriel Stecher Agricultural management practices, land degradation and implications for water quality in Kenya and Uganda on-going
Christina Formanek Groundwater quality in Austria on-going
Hope Mwanake Estimating sediment erosion and water quality in the Sio-Malaba-Malakisi River Basin on-going
Edberto Lima Determining sustainable intensification pathways in the Enns catchment 2023

Further links

ER Ceremony
BOKU Elise Richter Awardees with Rektor Hasenauer