NEWS - SEPT 2016

Critical Zone Observatories U.S. National Program

For many of us it’s the start of the fall semester, wrapping up field work, teaching classes, and all the other activities that speed up in the fall.  As busy as you all are, I hope that these email newsletters and will help keep us all a little more up to date with the many CZO activities. 

- Louis A. Derry
CZO National Office

Microbial Ecology Study

Current Research Highlight
Noah Fierer (Boulder), along with Emma Aronson (Southern Sierra) and Aaron Packman (IML) are working to understand microbial distribution and function across CZO sites. The goal of the project is to address how surface and subsurface microbial communities relate to ecology and biogeochemistry at each CZO. The team expects deeper soil horizons to have novel microbial diversity, which plays a role in the inorganic geochemistry of the Critical Zone.

We know surprisingly little about the microbes in deeper soil horizons and their influences on terrestrial biogeochemistry.... previous studies have focused only on surface horizons, largely ignoring the microbes found in deeper horizons despite their potential importance
    CZO sites bring together a broad range of expertise and perspectives.

Critical Zone Science in the News

Student research Internships: 10 Colorado community college students conducted summer field- or lab-based research while working with a team of scientists, many from the Boulder Creek CZO.  Their program is called RECCS - Research Experience for Community College Students in Critical Zone Science  and was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. 
Read about program (CIRES website)
See news article (Front Range CC website)
Watch student video (5 min)
Age of Nitrogen:  Graduate student Dong Kook Woo (IML) and PI Praveen Kumar (IML) developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields.  Their model could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques that promote crop growth while reducing leaching into ground- and surface-water.
Read the paper  (Water Resources Research)
See news article (AAAS's EurekAlert!)
Critical Zone Science Cafe: PI Jon Chorover (Catalina-Jemez) and Investigator Craig Rasmussen (Catalina-Jemez) gave the first two presentations in their CZO's Critical Zone Science Cafe Series, which are lectures for general public learning.  
Watch Jon's intro video (30 min)
Watch Craig's soil video (30 min)
New Phytologist Award from ESA 2016: Graduate student Harmandeep Sharma (Reynolds) was the co-recipient of the New Phytologist Poster award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Co-authors were Investigator Keith Reinhardt (Reynolds) and PI Kathleen Lohse (Reynolds).
Read news article (New Phytologist Trust)
See about awards (ESA Physiological Ecology Section)
The Education of Bruno Latour: PI Dan Richter (Calhoun) hosted French philosopher Bruno Latour on a 2-day visit to the Calhoun CZO.  Both spoke at Duke University on physical and social aspects of Earth's “critical zones” and the Anthropocene.
Read about visit (blog post)
Watch Dan's video (36 min)
Watch Bruno's video (incl Q/A session, 70 min)

See more: News | Twitter

Upcoming Meeting

AGU Chapman Conference - abstracts due 21 Sept.

Abstract submissions are open for the AGU Chapman Conference on Extreme Climate Event Impacts on Aquatic Biogeochemical Cycles and Fluxes to be held Jan 22-27, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico!  Abstract submissions close September 21.  Travel funding is available.  
Check out the Chapman program and submit an abstract.

Jobs & Opportunities

Postdoctoral position - data synthesis at SSCZO

Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (SSCZO) is accepting applications for a postdoctoral research position. The successful candidate will use and synthesize existing data collected in and around the SSCZO to better understand the geophysical, geochemical, hydrologic, and ecological controls on the development and function of the Critical Zone (CZ). Experience in landscape-scale modeling is also an asset. This position will be based at UC Merced, with the option to work with SSCZO investigators at other universities. Review of applications will begin immediately; position will remain open until filled. Starting dates are negotiable. Priority to applications received by September 30th, 2016. Apply for the Postdoc position.

CZO Graduate Research Group

If you are a CZO graduate student or know of a graduate student who works at any of the CZOs, consider joining the CZO Graduate Research Group. The group links graduate students across the CZO network, strengthens their research, and helps build community. To join, send us an email with your name and CZO affiliation.  Email

Blog writers

Want to spread the word about your CZO research to a general audience? Please consider contributing a guest blog entry to the CZO blog Adventures in the Critical Zone. CZO will assist you with illustrations/photos and your entry will be featured on the CZO website. If interested, contact Justin Richardson (CZO National Office postdoc) with your topic.  Email
Also See: Summer 2016 Newsletter

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