My main scientific interest is to study water resources in water-limited ecosystems and how climate change can affect water dynamics and water availability in those areas. Because evapotranspiration is the main component of the water balance in water limited environments, during my PhD I focussed on the development and testing of regional evapotranspiration models specifically designed for semiarid conditions. Working with physical models helped me to understand all those biological and environmental factors controlling the water dynamics in drylands, and to account for how those factors would be affected by climate change in the models. I have gained extensive experience on Eddy Covariance technique to measure water, carbon and energy fluxes, remote sensing products and long term meteorological variables monitoring that has deepened during my scientific career. As a postdoctoral fellow in the University of New Mexico (USA) I studied forest ecosystem resilience and eco-hydrological consequences of widespread piñon mortality events affecting piñon-juniper woodlands in the Southwestern US. Latter on, at the University of British Columbia (UBC) I have joined two large international project called FuturAgua (2014-2017) and AgWIT (2017-2020), both of them about development of resilience strategies to drought in the Tropics. At UBC my research activities have been redirected towards sustainability assessment of water use in the agricultural sector of Tropical regions facing meteorological droughts (rainfall deficit) or hydrological droughts (reduced water availability). Additionally, I am currently the project manager of the AgWIT project, and I was the Coordinator of the UBC team for the Futuragua project.
Hund S.V, Allen D.M, Morillas L., Johnson M. S. (under revision). Groundwater recharge indicator as tool for decision makers to increase socio-hydrological resilience to seasonal drought. Journal of Hydrology
Morillas L., Johnson M. Dinámicas de uso del agua en fincas agrícolas intensivas de la provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica (2017). Futuragua, Nota de Investigación 7.
Morillas L., Pangle R., Maurer G., Pockman W., McDowell N., Huang C-W., Krofcheck D.J., Fox A., Sinsabaugh R., Rahn T., Litvak M. (2017). Tree mortality decreases water availability and ecosystem resilience to drought in piñon-juniper woodlands in the southwestern USA. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. https://doi.org/10.1002/ 2017JG004095
Kustas W., Nieto H., Morillas L., Anderson M. C., Alfieri J. G., Hipps L. E., Villagarcía L., Domingo F., Garcia M. (2016). Revisiting the paper “Using radiometric surface temperature for surface energy flux estimation in Mediterranean drylands from a two-source perspective”. Remote Sensing Of Environment.
Warnock D., Litvak M., Morillas L., Sinsabaugh R. (2016). Drought-induced piñon mortality alters the seasonal dynamics of microbial activity in Piñon-Juniper woodland. Soil Biology and Biochemistry.
Serrano-Ortiz, P., Oyonarte, C., Pérez-Priego, O., Reverter, B.R., P. Sánchez-Cañete, E., Were A., Uclés, O., Morillas L., Domingo, F. (2014) Ecological functioning in grass–shrub Mediterranean ecosystems measured by eddy covariance. Oecologia.
Morillas L., Villagarcia L., Domingo Nieto, H., Uclés O., García M. (2014)Environmental factors affecting the accuracy of surface fluxes from a two-source model in Mediterranean drylands: Upscaling instantaneous to daytime estimates. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.
Morillas L., Leuning R., García M., Villagarcía L., Serrano-Ortiz P., Domingo F. (2013) Improving evapotranspiration estimates in Mediterranean drylands: the role of soil evaporation. Water Resources Research.
Morillas L., García M., Nieto, H., Villagarcia, L., Sandholt, I., Gonzalez-Dugo, M.P., Zarco-Tejada, P.J., Domingo, F. (2013) Using radiometric surface temperature for energy flux estimation in Mediterranean drylands from a two-source perspective. Remote Sensing of Environment.
Morillas L. PhD Thesis: estimacion Multifuente de la Evapotranspiracion en medios semiáridos mediante teledetección: Evaluacion de métodos directos y residuales. (2013)
Garcia M., Sandholt I., Ceccato P., Ridler M., Mougin E., Kergoat, L., Morillas L., Timouk L., Fensholt R., Domingo F. (2013) Constraints to Estimate Evapotranspiration in water-limited ecosystems from In-Situ and Satellite Data. Remote Sensing of Environment.