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Kristen was born in Orlando, FL and moved to Scottsdale, AZ at age 11. She obtained a B.S. in Environmental Geology, graduating Cum Laude from the University of California, Santa Cruz (2011). During this time, she also received the Holly Day Barnett Award for her community service and future plans to apply the earth sciences towards environmental solutions (2010). Post-graduation, Kristen completed internships with three California agencies: the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Ecology Action's Livestock and Land Program (2011-2012). In 2013, Kristen then began her graduate level studies at ASU, joinging the hydrosystems team as a master's student. In 2015, she earned her M.S. degree after successfully completing and defending her research project investigating the ecohydrological role of biological soil crusts within dryland regions. Now Kristen is enrolled in SESE’s Ph.D. program, and working as a graduate research assistant within the Hydrological Extremes Working Group (CHExWG) of the Urban Resilience Sustainability Research Network (UREx-SRN). In her current project, she is analyzing extreme climate events and the hydrologic responses within the Colorado River Basin (CRB) and its urban areas in historic and future projected timeperiods. This work involves simulations using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model over the United States and Mexico forced with historic climate data, as well as, future projections of urban growth and climate change.


Watershed hydrology
Hydroclimatic and ecohydrologic modeling of urban environments
Biogeochemistry of river environemtns
Land use and climate change impacts to stream flow and water quality
Statistical downscaling techniques
Big data analysis
Statistical analyses of hydroclimate extremes
Geographic information systems
Numerical modeling and remote sensing
Agent-based modeling for sustainable resource management

Current Projects

1. Modeling land surface hydrology sensitivity in the Colorado River Basin to historical and future-projected climate variability.
2. Combined impacts of climate change, land-cover conversion, and infrastructure development on Colorado River Basin biogeochemistry.

Contact Information

Office: ISTB4-768
Phone: 480-727-3572


Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Duniway MC, Bradford JB, Reed SC, Belnap J. 2016. Ecohydrological role of biological soil crusts across a gradient in levels of development. Ecohydrology 10(7): e1875.