Gil Bohrer is an atmospheric physicist who focuses on atmosphere-biosphere-hydrosphere interactions. Gil received his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering in June 2007 from Duke University. Before coming to Duke, he earned an M.S. in ecology and a B.S. in biology from Ben-Gurion University in Israel. For his Ph.D. thesis, Gil developed a computational framework for simulating the dynamics of forest-atmosphere interactions, as well as a detailed model of plant hydraulic architecture. These models were used to study the effects of forest canopy heterogeneity on turbulence and dispersion and to indicate possible biases in atmospheric point observations from eddy flux towers. They were also applied in a related project to study the ecological consequences of indigenous and invasive seed dispersal by wind in the tropical rain forest in Panama.
As an Environmental Fellow, Gil will work with Paul Moorcroft (Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology) on biosphere-atmosphere interactions around forest gaps and edges. He is particularly interested in how small-scale forest discontinuities affect forests at large scales, especially in regard to the exchanges of water, energy, and carbon dioxide that represent the life functioning of forests. “Exploring how structural vegetation heterogeneities, whether they are naturally or anthropogenically induced, modify these exchange rates remains one of the pivotal problems in atmospheric science and hydrology,” Gil writes, “with obvious practical and theoretical significance for boundary layer meteorology, study of climate variability, plant ecology, and air quality.”