Department of Geography and the Environment

Carlos E. Ramos Scharrón


ProfessorPh.D., Colorado State University

Assistant Professor
Carlos E. Ramos Scharrón

Contact

  • Phone: 512/232-2067
  • Office: CLA 3.406
  • Office Hours: FALL 2016- Wednesdays 10am-12pm
  • Campus Mail Code: 305 E. 23rd Street • CLA 3.306

Interests


Hydro-geomorphology; terrestrial carbon and sediment budgets; watershed analyses; land use change

Biography


Education: Carlos received his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in 1993. He began his graduate studies in Geomorphology in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of California-Berkeley (1993-95), and completed his Ph.D. from the Watershed Sciences program at Colorado State University (1998-2004). Since graduation Carlos has been Principal Investigator of several NOAA-funded projects in the Eastern Caribbean, while also working as an environmental consultant with the Island Resources Foundation. Carlos is also currently completing a post-doctoral appointment with the Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (2006-2008).

Research interests: Carlos’ major interests are in the field of Hydro-geomorphology, or the study of the interactions among landforms, land-shaping processes, and both surface and near-surface hydrologic processes. Even though skeptics still question the role of humans in affecting our planet’s climatic patterns, there is no doubt that humans are a dominant geomorphic agent and that our actions result in drastic changes to hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles. Most of Carlos’ work has had a strong environmental component by addressing the effects of anthropogenic alterations to the landscape on hydrologic and geomorphic processes, and their often detrimental effects on downstream aquatic habitats (e.g., salmon spawning gravels and coral reefs).

Carlos’ research interests also include understanding the linkages between geomorphic processes and biogeochemical cycles. He is currently working studying the role of mass wasting activity (i.e., landslides) in the carbon cycle of tropical montane environments. Little work has been done on this subject and his research tries to elucidate the basic question of whether landslide and associated debris flow activity accelerates the exportation of carbon from terrestrial systems or decelerates output rates by inducing net storage of carbon within depositional environments with residence times in the order of 1,000’s of years. The findings of this study could have important implications in the quantification and management of terrestrial carbon pools.

My study areas have included the humid forests of the Pacific Northwest coast of the U.S., and both dry and wet tropical forests of the Eastern Caribbean and Central America.

 

Courses


GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

37015-37055 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAI 3.02

Geomorphic processes that shape the earth's surface; origin and evolution of landforms. Groundwater and water resources. Pedogenesis and soil properties. 

Designed to accommodate 100 or more students.

A one-day field trip to be arranged.

GRG 356 • Water Res: Lat Amer/Caribbean

37225 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 334C • Environ Hazards Lat Amer/Carib

36565 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)

The physical landscape of Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be shaped by natural processes that have acted over geologic time scales, but when these threaten life and property they are known as natural hazards. While some processes, like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, originate within the Earth’s interior, others such as floods and hurricanes are solely controlled at the Earth’s surface. Recent documented worldwide increases in the toll associated to natural disasters are presumably related to population growth, socioeconomic inequality, and climate change. This course will cover the array of natural disasters that occur throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the most natural hazard-prone areas on Earth. Discussions will expose students to the science that supports hazard risk analyses and to the temporal and geographical distribution of hazards throughout the region. The course will present humans not only as susceptible to hazards but also as capable of affecting the incidence and degree of damage through direct intervention of the landscape and indirectly through deficient land use planning strategies and climate change. Students will also gain perspective on hazard mitigation strategies being employed throughout the region.  

GRG 396T • Forest Hydrology

36735 • Spring 2016
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM CLA 3.710

Even though forests presently cover only a fraction of their natural pre-settlement extension and most of our scientific knowledge base has been generated on managed systems, forested landscapes exemplify a desirable objective of many land and water conservation efforts. Amongst the most coveted services granted by forests is their ability to generate high quality surface waters distributed over a timeframe that is oftentimes essential for aquatic ecosystem functions and human uses. This seminar intends to trace the history of forest hydrology as a science that describes the natural complexities of water movement through forested headwater landscapes and the changes imposed to these processes by disturbances associated to extreme weather events, deforestation, timber harvesting, wildfires, and climate change, among others. Course participants will be exposed to a gallery of selected readings representing some of the major findings in the field over the past century, including those generated by mostly hydrometric methods to those relying on chemical analyses and sophisticated hydrologic modeling approaches. Readings will include an array of study approaches and spatiotemporal scales that will serve to put in perspective the latest trends in the field of forest hydrology and its relevance to disciplines such as geography, ecology, environmental sciences, land use planning, civil engineering, and others.

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

36285-36325 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAI 3.02

Geomorphic processes that shape the earth's surface; origin and evolution of landforms. Groundwater and water resources. Pedogenesis and soil properties. 

Designed to accommodate 100 or more students.

A one-day field trip to be arranged.

GRG 356 • Water Res: Lat Amer/Caribbean

36470 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)

The variability of landscapes, climatic regions, and anthropogenic activities found throughout Latin America and the Insular Caribbean provide an adequate platform to explore the complex issues related to water resource accessibility and protection in light of the undeniable challenges to be faced in the upcoming decades due to climate change. Some of the topics to be discussed during this course will include issues related to water abundance such as desertification, incidence of drought, deglaciation, and saline intrusions into groundwater resources resulting from sea level rise. The course will also cover topics associated to contamination of both fresh and ocean waters by agricultural practices, cattle ranching, mining, urban expansion, and deforestation. Special attention will be given to the proliferation of dams and their physical, ecological, and human impacts. Case studies from various countries will be studied through qualitative and quantitative approaches with particular emphasis on water governance and adaptation measures at the national and community levels.   

GRG 334C • Environ Hazards Lat Amer/Carib

36655 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)

 The physical landscape of Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be formed and reshaped by natural processes that have acted over geologic time scales. When these processes threaten life and property they are called natural hazards. Recent documented worldwide increases in the human and economic toll associated to natural disasters are presumably related to population growth, socioeconomic factors, and climate change. This course will cover some of the types of natural disasters that occur throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the most natural hazard-prone areas on Earth.

GRG 356 • Water & Watersheds

36700 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JES A215A

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

37415-37465 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM FAC 21

This course deals with the Natural Environment, and focuses on the Geological Materials, Soils,
and Landforms at the Earth's surface, with emphasis on the various processes that create and modify the
landscapes of continental areas.

GRG 356 • Wtr Res: Latin Amer/Caribbean

37605 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)

Water is a vital asset in the natural resource arsenal of any country as abundant clean water is essential for ecosystem sustenance, agricultural and industrial production, sustainable fisheries, the generation of electricity, transportation, adequate sanitation, tourism, and to fulfill many other human needs. However, the distribution of an adequate and clean water supply is very variable in place and time as it not only depends on climatic conditions, geologic substrate, land cover, and topographic controls, but also on human uses and demands.  The variability of landscapes, climatic regions, and anthropogenic activities found throughout Latin America and the Insular Caribbean provide an adequate platform to explore the complex issues related to water resource accessibility and protection in light of the undeniable challenges to be faced in the upcoming decades due to climate change. Some of the topics to be discussed during this course will include issues related to water abundance such as desertification, incidence of drought, deglaciation, and saline intrusions into groundwater resources resulting from sea level rise. The course will also cover topics associated to contamination of both fresh and ocean waters by agricultural practices, cattle ranching, mining, urban expansion, and deforestation. Special attention will be given to the proliferation of dams and their physical, ecological, and human impacts. Case studies from various countries will be studied through qualitative and quantitative approaches with particular emphasis on water governance and adaptation measures at the national and community levels

Topics include environmental assessment methods and techniques, the conservation movement, and climate and people.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

MEETS WITH LAS 330.

GRG 334C • Environ Hazards Lat Amer/Carib

37802 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)

The physical landscape of Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be formed and reshaped by natural processes that have acted over geologic time scales. When these processes threaten life and property they are called natural hazards. Recent documented worldwide increases in the human and economic toll associated to natural disasters are presumably related to population growth, socioeconomic factors, and climate change. This course will cover some of the natural disasters that occur throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the most natural hazard-prone areas on Earth. Through readings and in class discussions students will learn about the physical phenomena that incites natural hazards, while also emerging with a comprehensive view of the temporal and geographical distribution of hazards throughout the region. The course will present humans as susceptible to hazards but also as capable of affecting the incidence and degree of damage through direct intervention of the landscape and through deficient land use planning strategies, socioeconomic inequality, and climate change. Students will also gain a well-informed perspective on risk evaluation, short-term emergency response challenges, and hazard mitigation strategies employed throughout the region.

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

37640-37695 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WEL 1.308

Geomorphic processes that shape the earth's surface; origin and evolution of landforms. Groundwater and water resources. Pedogenesis and soil properties. 

Designed to accommodate 100 or more students.

A one-day field trip to be arranged.

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

37330-37370 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM ART 1.102

Geomorphic processes that shape the earth's surface; origin and evolution of landforms. Groundwater and water resources. Pedogenesis and soil properties. 

Designed to accommodate 100 or more students.

A one-day field trip to be arranged.

GRG 338C • Riv/Landscp: Fluvial Geomorph

37355 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GRG 102

Publications


Ramos-Scharrón CE, Thomaz E. 2016. Runoff development and soil erosion in wet tropical montane setting under coffee cultivation. Land Degradation and Development, doi: 10.1002/ldr.2567.

Ramos-Scharrón CE, LaFevor M. 2016. The role of unpaved roads as active source areas of precipitation excess in small watersheds drained by ephemeral streams. Journal of Hydrology 533: 168-179. DOI: 10.1016/j.hydrol.2015.11.051.

Thomaz E, Ramos-Scharrón CE. 2015. Rill extension and plot-scale effects on the hydrogemorphic response of gravelly roads. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 40(15): 2041-2048, DOI: 10.1002/esp.3778.

Ramos-Scharrón CE, Torres-Pulliza, D, Hernández-Delgado E. 2015. Watershed and island-wide scale land cover changes in Puerto Rico (1930s-2004) and their potential effects on coral reef ecosystems. Science of the Total Environment, 506-507: 241-251. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitoenv.2014.11.016

Ramos-Scharrón CE, Reale-Munroe K, Atkinson S, 2014. Quantification and modeling of foot trail surface erosion in a dry sub-tropical setting. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39(13): 1764-1777.DOI: 10.1002/esp.3558.

Bégin C, Brooks G, Larson R, Dragcevic S, Ramos-Scharrón CE, Côte IM. 2014. Increase in sediment loads over coral reefs in Saint Lucia in relation to changes in land use in contributing watersheds. Ocean and Coastal Management, 95: 35-45. DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.03.018

Thomaz E, Vestena LR, Ramos-Scharrón CE, 2014. The effects of unpaved roads on suspended sediment concentration of third- to fifth-order streams – A case study from southern Brazil. Water and Environment Journal, 28: 547-555. DOI: 10.1111/wej.12070.

Ramos-Scharrón CE, Castellanos E, Restrepo C. 2012. The transfer of organic Carbon by landslide activity in a tropical montane ecosystem in Guatemala. Submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 117, GO3016.

Hernández-Delgado E, Ramos-Scharrón CE, Guerrero-Pérez C, Lucking MA, Laureano R, Méndez-Lázaro PA, Meléndez-Díaz JO. 2012. Development in tropical coastal habitats in a changing climate: lessons learned from Puerto Rico (Chapter 18). In: M Kasimoglu (Ed.), “Visions for Global Tourism Industry-Creating and Sustaining Competitive Strategies”, InTech Publications, Croatia, pp. 357-398.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, Amador-Gutierrez J, Hernández-Delgado E, 2012. An interdisciplinary erosion mitigation approach for coral reef protection- A case study from the Eastern Caribbean (Chapter 6). In: Marine Ecosystems- Intech Publications, pp. 127-160.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, 2012. Effectiveness of an erosion control method in reducing sediment production rates from an unpaved road. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 67(2): 87-100. [Email cramos@irf.org for copy]

Ramos-Scharrón CE, 2010. Sediment production from unpaved roads in a dry sub-tropical setting- Southwestern Puerto Rico. Catena 82(3): 146-158.

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Restrepo C, Walker LR, Shiels AB, Bussman R, Claessens L, Fisch S, Lozano P, Negi G, Paolini L, Poveda G, Ramos-Scharrón C, Richter M, Velázquez E. 2009. Landsliding and its multiscale influence on mountainscapes. Bioscience 59(8): 685-698.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE. 2009. The effects of land development on sediment loading rates into the coastal waters of the islands of Culebra and Vieques. Submitted to the Coastal Zone Management Program, PR Dept. of Natural and Environmental Resources. 94 p.

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Fu B, Newham LTH, Ramos-Scharrón CE. 2010. A review of surface erosion and sediment delivery models for unsealed roads. Environmental Modelling and Software 25: 1-14.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, 2007. Sediment production from natural and disturbed surfaces in dry tropical areas of the Eastern Caribbean. Proceedings of the 7th Caribbean Island Water Resources Congress, Sangchul Hwang (Ed.), Univ. of the Virgin Islands Water Resources Research Institute, St Croix, USVI, pp. 26-30.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, MacDonald LH, 2007. Measurement and prediction of erosion rates from natural and anthropogenic sources of sediment in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Catena Special Issue-Soil water erosion on rural areas, 71: 250-266.

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Benavides-Solorio J de D, Ramos-Scharrón CE. 2007. Impacts of forest fires and roads on hydrologic and surface erosion processes of forested watersheds. In: Manejo Integrado de Cuencas Hidrológicas (In Spanish). In: Avances de investigación en agricultura sostenible IV: Bases metodológicas para el manejo integral de cuencas hidrológicas, Sánchez-Brito et al. (eds.). INIFAP, Centro de Investigación Regional Pacífico Centro. Michoacán, México, pp. 333-386.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, MacDonald LH. 2007. Development and application of a GIS-based sediment budget model, Journal of Environmental Management, 84: 157-172.

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, MacDonald LH. 2007. Runoff and suspended sediment yields from an unpaved road segment, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hydrological Processes, 21(1): 35-50. 

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Ramos-Scharrón CE, MacDonald LH. 2005. Measurement and prediction of sediment production from unpaved roads, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 30(10): 1283-1304.

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Ramos CE. 1996. Quantification of stream channel morphological features: recommended procedures for use in watershed analysis and TFW ambient monitoring. TFW-AM 9-96-006, 89 p.

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Curriculum Vitae


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