NEWS - FEB 2016

Critical Zone Observatories U.S. National Program
2017 is slated to be an important year for the CZO network. We are preparing to hold our Critical Zone meeting in Arlington, VA on June 4-6, 2017. While this is a chance to discuss current CZ science, the theme, "Critical Zone Science: Current Advances and Future Opportunities" is designed to stimulate ideas for the future of CZ science. I highly encourage you to attend and invite your colleagues, especially those who are interested in CZ science but currently not affiliated with a CZO.

- Louis A. Derry
CZO National Office

Using magnesium isotopes as a ‘hybrid’ tracer of the Critical Zone

Current Research Highlight
Dr. María Chapela-Lara, a recent PhD graduate from the University of Bristol, England, has been developing the use of Mg isotopes to learn about the Critical Zone. At a broader scale, Mg isotope signatures can also be used to identify the source of nutrients to soil pore water and streams.

Dr. Chapela-Lara has conducted her research primarily at Luquillo CZO with Dr. Heather Buss, but has also worked at GFZ-Potsdam in Germany. At Luquillo, she found that Mg available to plants comes from atmospheric sources (rain and dust), whereas the main source of Mg to the streams comes from bedrock weathering in the deep critical zone (below 10 m depth). In addition, her work in Germany was able to differentiate contributions to streams from Mg-bearing minerals (chlorite, amphibole and pyroxene) using Mg isotopes during baseflow. 

Mg isotopes are fractionated by the same reactions that constitute the critical zone: primary mineral dissolution, secondary mineral precipitation, sorption-desorption and biologically-driven reactions. This makes Mg isotopes a ‘hybrid’ tracer, that can give insight into both biological and geochemical processes, and into the feedbacks between them

Dr. Chapela-Lara

Critical Zone Science in the News

Subsurface Water and SMAP 
Scientists from MIT and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory used observations from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission to determine the residence of water in the surface of the Critical Zone.
See news article

CZO and Soils 
Dr. Henry Lin from Shale Hills CZO shares the importance of the Critical Zone during an interview with the Soil Science Society of American and Crop Science society of America. 
See news article 

Sustaining the Water  
Dr. Roger Bales from UC Berkeley gives an interview regarding his research on water sustainability in California in relationship to critical zone science
See news article

See more: News | Twitter

Upcoming Meetings


CZO Meeting in Arlington ,VA,
When: June 4-6, 2017 
Where: Arlington, VA

The U.S. CZO program will host a meeting open to the greater research community at the Hilton Arlington in Arlington, VA on June 4-6, 2017 with support from the NSF. The theme, Critical Zone Science: Current Advances and Future Opportunities, will focus the meeting on the latest CZ science results from the CZO Network and is designed to stimulate the community to formulate ideas for the future of CZO science. Collaborators both within the U.S. and abroad are invited. Our goal is to engage the Earth surface and environmental sciences community in discussing how CZ science will move forward into the future. Participants within and outside the CZO network are welcome, including participants from government agencies and nongovernmental organizations that are interested in developing better understanding of how Earth's surface environment will change into the future. We anticipate up to 150 participants. NSF support will be provided to cover some on-site and travel costs.


CZO Webinar Series 
When: February 28th – May 9th
Where: Online  

The CZO Network will be hosting a webinar series discussing the role of Critical Zone science for environmental sustainability. Speakers will be Susan Brantley (February 28th), David Breshears and Jason field (March 14th), Praveen Kumar (March 28th), Roger Bales (April 11th), Jon Pelletier (April 25th) and Steven Banwart (May 9th).

Critical Zone science at Goldschmidt 2017 Paris 

Deadline: April 1, 2017
Where: Paris, France

Session on the Critical Zone will be convened for the Goldschmidt 2017 conference in Paris, France. “We invite contributions that link field observations and /or models to biogeochemical, hydrological, ecological, biological and pedological processes in traditional and novel ways to relate water dynamics back to CZ function in a time of accelerated global change.” In addition, other CZ science sessions explore chemical weathering of carbonates, isotope tracing of particulates, and biogeochemistry of Polar Regions. Deadline for abstract submission is April 1st 2017. 

BIOGEOMON 2017: Ecosystems and Catchment Biogeochemistry 

Deadline: March 10, 2017 
Where: Litomyšl, Czech Republic

Biogeomon will be held at the UNESCO-listed castle in Litomyšl, Czech Republic with many sessions covering different aspects of biogeochemistry and monitoring. “The symposium will focus on biogeochemistry in an era of global change. Long-term trends in ecosystem functioning and stoichiometry of biogeochemical processes in upland and wetland soils will be emphasized.” Abstract submission deadline is 10 March 2017.  

Jobs & Opportunities


SAVI funding for International Travel 
Deadline: March 13, 2017

Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) program is providing grants to enable travel to CZ sites or pre-eminent laboratories overseas to further the investigation of the CZ. This NSF sponsored program is inviting an open solicitation for applications by graduate students or postgraduates (US citizens or green card holders at US universities only) to receive funds for international travel during 2017.  
Click here for information about SAVI grants



Blog writers

Deadline: None

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 To subscribe/unsubscribe, just send an e-mail to with "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the email title.Questions? Comments? Contact:

Stable Isotope Specialist-Purdue University

Deadline: Until Post is Filled

Purdue University is currently searching for an experienced individual familiar with isotope ratio mass spectrometry for a full-time position. The person chosen for the position will be, along with existing lab managerial staff, responsible for the operation and maintenance of four gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometers including peripherals such as a gas chromatographic system, an elemental analyzer, dissolved carbon analyzer, and a thermochemical pyrolysis elemental analyzer, and two laser spectroscopy isotope analyzers.These instruments and the associated laboratory is operated as a research and recharge facility within the Purdue Stable Isotope (PSI) Research Lab housed within the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.   
Email Timothy Filley for more information

CUAHSI Instrumentation Discovery Travel Grants
Deadline: April 1, 2017  

CUAHSI offers Instrumentation Discovery Travel Grants of up to $1,000 to permit academic scientists to visit colleagues to efficiently and economically learn new instrumentation. IDTG’s enable scientists to learn new instrumentation techniques in the water sciences by visiting other research sites and meeting with the respective site’s Principal Investigators to learn the details of hydrologic instrument installation, operation, maintenance, and data processing. 

The intent of this grant is for awardees to be able to learn about advanced water-related instrumentation from an expert with shouldering as little fiscal risk as possible. Grantees are expected to take a holistic approach. As needed, they should learn about field deployment, instrument networking, data collection methods, data interpretation approaches, as well as learn from anecdotal experiences of the host in operating the instrumentation under different landscapes. Using funds to bring an expert to the grantee’s field site (i.e. a reverse site visit) is permissible, but this grant opportunity is not appropriate for funding attendance of a class or workshop. Proposals including modeling activities associated with the processing of instrument data will be considered, but site visits requested purely for the purposes of learning or evaluating modeling software are outside the scope of this program.  
Click here for more information about travel grants

Also See: Winter 2017 Newsletter

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