Abstract: Society is facing growing environmental problems that require new research efforts to understand the way ecosystems operate and survive and their mutual relationships with the hydrologic cycle. Ecohydrology faces this task with the aim to provide better understanding of implications of land use changes on terrestrial ecosystems and better comprehension of climatic changes effects on terrestrial ecosystems. The scope of the present research is to deepen our understanding on the mutual relationship between climate, vegetation and basin water budget within an ecohydrological framework. With this aim, a coupled hydrological/ecological model is adopted to describe simultaneously vegetation pattern evolution and hydrological water budget at the basin scale. Analyses have been carried out over the Basilicata Region (in Southern Italy) that is an ideal test area located in the core of the Biodiversity Hotspot area of the Mediterranean basin with a significant variety of climatic conditions ranging from humid to semi-arid and arid. The hydrological analysis have been carried out using a recently formulated framework for the water balance at the daily level linked with a spatial model for the description of the spatial organization of vegetation. This makes possible to quantitatively assess the effects on soil water balance of future climatic scenario and to identify the most vulnerable area of the region under study. Results describe the non-linear relationship between climatic forcing, vegetation patterns and water budget. It is interesting to underline that in the most vulnerable ecosystems small change in climatic conditions may produce significant transformation on vegetation patterns and water resources availability.
Personal Resume: Salvatore Manfreda is Assistant Professor at the University of Basilicata. He has a broad interest in hydrology and ecohydrology, with particular emphasis on distributed modeling, flood prediction, delineation of flood prone areas, stochastic processes in hydrology, space-time rainfall dynamics, soil moisture process, low flow mathematical filters, plant physiology, vegetation patterns and African Savanna. His research activity has produced more than 80 publications in peer review journals, book chapters and national, international proceedings and extended abstracts. He is very active in the European Geophysical Union (EGU) as a reviewer, convener of numerous scientific sessions of the EGU General Assemblies and member of the EGU Committee Sub-Division on Estuaries, Wetlands & Eco-Hydrology. He acts as appointed reviewer for high impact journals and is member of the editorial board of Ecohydrology (Winley).