What kind of work do critical zone scientists do? Who are some of the scientists working at Critical Zone Observatories across the country? How does their work inform our understanding and management of critical zone resources, such as water, soil, and food?
These brief profiles feature just a few of the 250+ senior scientists, university faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students who work at the nine CZO sites currently funded by the National Science Foundation. CZO people are cross-disciplinary scientists who have expertise in fields including hydrology, geochemistry, geomorphology, ecology, biology, and climatology. More profiles will be added over time, as new scientists join the CZO teams.
The profiles provide a non-technical introduction to the work CZO people do. Each scientist was asked to respond to the following questions:
1. What is the goal of your work?
2. How is your work relevant to the science community and to the larger human communities in which we live?
3. Why is studying the critical zone important?
4. How has the CZO network been valuable to you in your work?
5. How can the CZOs help improve our understanding and management of natural resources?
Although microorganisms cannot be seen with the naked eye, they play an important role in mediating the cycling of key nutrients, such as carbon and nitrogen. Microbial CO2 respiration represents up to 60 percent of soil respiration on the planet—significantly contributing to anthropogenic CO2 emission and climate change. Yet, we still do not know how changing environments will influence microbially-mediated nutrient cycling. KJ Min’s work in the Calhoun CZO investigates the effects of environmental changes on microbial activities in soils, in order to better predict future microbial activities in a changing climate. Visit Kyungjin (KJ)'s profile >
Katherine O’Neill studies how management practices, disturbance, and land-cover change alter fundamental ecosystem processes, such as cycling of nutrients, soil organic matter storage, and soil productivity. The practical objective of O’Neill’s work is to provide landowners, managers, and policy-makers with a basis for the sustainable management of productive ecosystems. Visit Katherine's profile >