Course Format

January 6, 2022 to March 31, 2022 (Thursdays, 10am - 12pm CST) via 9 2-hour virtual learning modules, supplemented with video lecture materials.

Participants are expected to activity participate in the course, including by leading discussions of the primary literature, writing an article suitable for public consumption on an ecohydrology topic of their choice, and working in teams to develop a research approach to tack a proposed research question as a capstone project. There are no exams in this course.

The course will be taught by Prof. Cherie Westbrook.

Dr. Westbrook will be available via email or Zoom for the duration of the course.

Course Objectives

It is widely known that hydrological processes regulate ecological ones, and that there is also ecological regulation of hydrological processes. Ecological feedbacks are partly responsible for non-linearities in ecosystem responses to hydrological perturbations, for example, those that underlie the development of wetland patterned landscapes or unexpected observations in watershed responses to rainfall. This course is designed to provide participants with the principles of ecohydrology and their application to water resource challenges.

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Be able to clearly describe the interaction and feedbacks between ecological systems and hydrological processes [lectures]
  • Develop conceptual synthesis and research communication skills by distilling a topic for public consumption [web article]
  • Develop hypothesis development and analysis skills by designing research to address an ecohydrological research question [project]
  • Develop teaching skills by guiding a group learning experience [discussion]

Course Synopsis

The University of Saskatchewan Centre for Hydrology is offering an intensive course on the dynamic and reciprocal interplay between hydrological processes and ecological patterns and processes. The course will start with an explanation of the origins of ecohydrology and an explanation of the differences between Darwinian and Newtonian approaches to science. How ecohydrological processes map to ecosystem services will be described. We will then delve into the overarching concepts in ecohydrology, using examples from the literature chosen by and discussions led by class participants. A demonstration of the application of ecohydrology in solving water resource challenges will be given. The course will end with discussion of needed future directions for ecohydrology research. Along the way, students will have time and space for critical reflection and application of course learnings in practical ways.

We recommend that participants have a firm foundation in hydrology and at least some experience in ecology.

Course Topics

Module 1: Introduction to ecohydrology. What is ecohydrology?

Module 2: Ecohydrological processes and their link to ecosystem services

Modules 3 – 7 are intended to delve into the overarching concepts in ecohydrology. Student-identified literature will be assigned reading for each module (see assessment activity 1).

Module 3: Systems thinking (e.g. room for the river concept)

Module 4: Alternative stable states (thresholds, tipping points, memory effects)

Module 5: Hot spots and hot moments (e.g. riparian-stream interfaces). Special guest lecture from Dr. John Pomeroy (on late season snow and microbes).

Module 6: Self organization (e.g. wetland structure - hummocks and hollows – and differential function).

Module 7: Optimality (e.g. Eagleson’s optimality hypothesis; soil-plant-atmosphere continuum (evapotranspiration through a chain of resistances in series), water use efficiency).

Module 8: Nature-based solutions to water resources challenges. We will explore: i) nature-based solutions; ii) biodiversity as the heart of climate change solutions.

Module 9: Conclusion: The future of ecohydrology.



  • Lead Class Discussion (35%):

Each participant will identify three candidate papers for discussion in week one: one research article in their area of expertise/interest/focus; one methods paper; one synthesis/vision paper. The papers will be compiled into a participant-generated master reading list. Participants will choose one paper from the master reading list and complete a critical review of it (the instructor must approve the paper choice). Each participant will prepare a short presentation and lead the discussion for one of these papers. Participants may be placed in groups, depending on course enrolment.


  • Web Article (30%):

The Conversation Canada ( is an online publication intended to provide the public with news and views from the research community. University of Saskatchewan is a partner in this endeavor. The Conversation publishes articles that, for example, explain a complex issue, explain new research and its significance to a non-expert audience, or provide a timely evidence-based analysis of a current hot topic. For the assignment, each participant is required to write an article on ecohydrological topic in the format suitable for The Conversation.


  • Group Project (35%):

Participants will work in small teams to develop a research approach (i.e. set of methods, tools or techniques) to tackle/answer the proposed research problems and set of questions or objectives. You will not actually be ‘researching’ the problems; the focus of this exercise is on research design – identifying appropriate research methods and techniques (i.e. a research methods design) – to tackle an ecohydrological research problem. Each team will draft questions, hypothesis/objectives, and predictions, and a research design (including proposed methods and techniques) to address the research problem.

Date Subject Instructor
Jan 11th Fundamentals & Hydrological Cycle; 
Hydrometeorology & Precipitation
Dr John Pomeroy
Jan 12th

Interception & Evapotranspiration

-Essay Assignment & Assignment 1

Dr Richard Petrone

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 13th

Snow Accumulation & Redistribution

Dr John Pomeroy
Jan 14th Snowmelt and Snowcover Depletion

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 15th

Groundwater Hydrology

-Assignment 2

Dr Edwin Cey

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 18th

Glacier Hydrology

-Assignment 3

Michael Demuth, P.Eng., P.Geo.

Dr. John Pomeroy

Jan 19th

Soil Hydrology

Dr Andrew Ireson

Jan 20th Hillslope and Catchment Hydrology

Dr Sean Carey

Jan 21st

River Basin Hydrology and Streamflow Hydrographs

-Assignment 4

Dr Kevin Shook

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 22nd

Hydraulics, Routing and River Ice



-Assignment 5

Dr Tricia Stadnyk

Dr Alain Pietroniro

Dr John Pomeroy

The closed book final examination (2 hour) will be given electronically one month after the last day of the course. Exercises and literature review are due two months after they are assigned and are submitted electronically to Dr. Pomeroy.

NOTE: you must work independently and originally in all assignments and examinations, cite appropriately in submitted essay material and follow the University of Saskatchewan Academic Misconduct Rules.

Applying for Admission at USask

All participants must apply for admission as a graduate student with the University of Saskatchewan if they are not already a graduate student at the U of S or another Canadian institution.

  • Students request permission to register in the course, GEOG 836, by emailing Dr.Cherie Westbrook ( and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis.
  • Students should then contact the department of Geography and Planning ( and provide their student number so that a permission to register can be entered.
  • After getting email confirmation from the department, students taking the course for credit can register themselves on PAWS. Students wishing to audit the course can contact Student Central at using their PAWS email account and request to be registered as an audit student in the course.
  • Students request permission to register in the course by emailing Dr. Cherie Westbrook (
     and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis
  • Students submit either a Canadian Universities Graduate Transfer Agreement (CUGTA) form or a Western Dean's Agreement (WDA) form, depending on the home institution.
    (Please note that each University has their own version of the CUGTA form, so students using this form should obtain it from their home institution.)
  • Students will have their home institution sign the form and send it to the department of Geography and Planning ( at the University of Saskatchewan. They will be automatically registered in the course, but must pay student fees and tuition directly to the University of Saskatchewan.

Please note: You must complete all 5 steps below in order to apply for admission

  • Request permission to register in the course by emailing Dr. Cherie Westbrook (
     and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis
  • Apply for admissions here, choose Graduate program, Non-degree and term.
    Note: International students and professionals will pay $120 CDN non-refundable application fee, but DO NOT submit transcripts, or submit proof of English equivalency and should ignore these requests if prompted automatically by the form.International students and professionals MUST submit a letter of support from their home institution or employer on official letterhead, listing the course, the term it will be taken, and the dates that the course will be held.  This letter should be submitted to 
  • Once an application has been received by Graduate Studies, students will be given access to a University of Saskatchewan PAWS account and can monitor their application status on PAWS.  Upon receiving a letter of admission on their PAWS email address, students should then notify the department of Geography and Planning ( that they have been admitted and provide their student number so that a permission to register can be entered.
  • After getting email confirmation from the department, students taking the course for credit can register themselves and pay their tuition on PAWS.  Students wishing to audit the course can contact Student Central at using their PAWS email account and request to be registered as an audit student in the course, tuition will be paid on PAWS.  


Tuition and student fees will vary depending on citizenship and whether a participant is taking the course for credit or audit.

Tuition and Fees for Canadian Participants
Credit- $772.25 CAD   
Audit- $410.75 CAD

Tuition and Fees for non-Canadian Participants
Credit- $1357.88 CAD   
Audit- $703.57 CAD


If you would like to request transfer of credit to your home institution, please order your transcript for the course directly through your PAWS account or this link.

Withdrawal from Course, or Switching from Credit to Audit
If while taking the course or after completion, you decide to withdraw or switch from credit to audit, please contact U of S Student Central (, or phone 1-877-650-1212) for details. 

  • Last day to change from credit to audit with a 50% refund: January 31, 2022

  • Last day to change from credit to audit: April 5, 2022

Further Information

For further information...