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Kate Brauman

 Head shot of Kate Brauman
Title:Graduate, PhD 2010
Primary Affiliation:Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources
Other Affiliations:E-IPER
Office Location:
Alternative Website:Personal Website

Biographical Information

Kate is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the Global Landscapes Initiative at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. She was a member of the E-IPER program’s third cohort, where she worked with a committee from ecology, hydrology, economics, and law to develop theory and field evidence for hydrologic ecosystem services. She received her doctorate in 2010. Kate came to Stanford with both a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Stanford Graduate Fellowship.

Prior to graduate school, Kate spent three years working for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit, national environmental advocacy organization. As NRDC’s Public Education senior associate, she responded to inquiries about environmental issues and helped develop, write, and produce educational materials. As an undergraduate at Columbia College, Columbia University, Kate was an independent major in Science and Religion with a science emphasis primarily in biology and a humanities focus on comparative religion and religious philosophy. Kate’s independent major helped pave the way for a Center for the Study of Science and Religion, founded by her advisor and still thriving in Columbia’s Earth Institute.


Kate studies the coupled interaction of land-use change and water resources. As a postdoctoral fellow, she studies the global distribution of water use in agriculture and the effects of agriculture on downstream water quantity and quality. She works to identify regions where changing irrigation management could increase or stabilize food supply while ensuring the delivery of a suite of complementary ecosystem services.  She also works with the Natural Capital project to improve and apply their water models, which will help quantify the value of different land use types and management practices on water resources.

Kate’s dissertation quantified the impact of land cover on water availability and explored ways in which water users can manage their water supply – quantity, quality, location, and timing – by identifying optimal land-cover types and creating incentives for best management practices. Her work integrating a large body of existing hydrology research about land-use effects on water into the ecosystem services framework culminated in an article coauthored with Gretchen Daily, T Ka’eo Duarte, and Harold Mooney for the 2007 Annual Review of Environment and Resources, “The Nature and Value of Ecosystem Services: A focus on hydrology.” To illustrate the practical application of ecosystem services for land management, she designed and ran a field study on the Big Island of Hawai’i gathering primary data to evaluate the impact of land use conversion between native forest and cattle pasture on groundwater recharge and assess the monetary value of that change to the local water supplier. 


Kate has TA'ed for undergraduates new to thinking about science in Professor Rosemary Knight’s Water Course (GeoPhys/EarthSys 104) and for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduates interested in hydrology in Professor David Freyberg’s Wetlands and Watersheds (CEE 166A/266A). She has also developed courses for a variety of workshops, including a class on Watersheds and the Water Cycle for 7th and 8th grade girls at the Sally Ride Festival and a session introducing Ecology and Ecosystem Services to 6th Grade Teachers for the Stanford School of Earth Sciences Geoscape Bay Area program. At Minnesota, she designed and led science portions of an honors seminar focused on science, policy, and engagement on the Mississippi River taught by Patrick Nunnally (HSEM 3039). 


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