The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Kevin McGuire, an associate professor of forest resources and environmental conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, for expertise in hydrology and watershed management and for his work on runoff generation processes, forest ecosystems, and water-soil-biogeochemical interactions.
McGuire is the associate director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is a federal and state funded center with the mission of developing, implementing and coordinating water and related land research programs in the Commonwealth and transferring the results of research and new technology to potential users.
He studies watershed management practices and hydrological and ecological processes that affect water quality and quantity in headwater watersheds.
Recently, his work has focused on explaining the spatial and temporal variation in stream water chemistry at the headwater catchment-scale using a framework based on the combined study of hydrology and soil science, which is an emerging new research area called hydropedology.
Most precipitation that reaches the ground, flows through the soil and dissolves minerals and organic materials, which end up in streams and rivers that humans depend on for freshwater resources such as drinking water. Research at the interface between hydrology and soil science addresses complex environmental problems in a watershed context.
For example, McGuire was principal investigator on a recently funded project by the National Science Foundation designed to examine how landscape morphology controls hydrologic flowpaths and soil development affecting chemical element retention, release, and transport from watersheds.
McGuire has also contributed to advances in estimating water age, which is the time it takes for water to travel through watersheds to streams. Knowledge of water age based on models of environmental tracers such as stable isotopes of water molecules can provide valuable information on water contact time with soils and rocks in watersheds. Water age and travel time are also important for quantifying the retention of soluble contaminants or pollution persistence in the environment.
Previous to Virginia Tech, McGuire held a joint position between the Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. In this position, he served as the research hydrologist for the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and is now a Co-PI of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study funded by the Long-Term Ecological Research program of the National Science Foundation.
He has a Ph.D. in forest engineering from Oregon State University and an M.S. in forest resources from Penn State where in both programs he studied forest hydrology. His B.S. is from Susquehanna University in environmental science.