ARCHIVED CONTENT: In December 2020, the CZO program was succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net) ×

Critical Zone Collaborative Network

National Science Foundation logo

23 Nov 2020

As of fall 2020, the Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) program has been succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net).

Image: National Science Foundation logo [Click image to enlarge]

National | Boulder | Calhoun | Catalina-Jemez | Christina | Eel | IML | Luquillo | Reynolds | Shale Hills | Sierra |

CUAHSI has been selected to serve as the national coordinating hub for the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net). In following from the previous Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) program, the hub will continue to be located at and the updated website is coming soon! In the meantime, please direct inquiries to, and follow @CriticalZoneOrg on Twitter. 

The press release from the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as, a list of the CZ Net awards are below. 

Understanding Earth's surface from tree canopy to bedrock: NSF announces awards for network of 'critical zone' research projects

NSF Announcement — September 01, 2020

Land-use change. Environmental change. Extreme natural events such as hurricanes and wildfires. All are placing increasing pressure on the planet and its natural resources. In the critical zone, the layer from the top of the forest canopy to the base of weathered bedrock, where freshwater flows and soil forms from the breakdown of rocks, life flourishes.

To better understand Earth's critical zone — the realm where water, air, soil, rock and life interact — the U.S. National Science Foundation has funded 10 new Critical Zone Collaborative Network awards at $10.5 million per year total, for five years.

The water cycle; the breakdown of rocks and formation of soil; the geochemical and physical erosion of that soil; the evolution of rivers and valleys; patterns of vegetation; and the form and function of the Earth are all products of interactive processes in the critical zone.

Critical Zone Collaborative Network grantees will work to answer scientific questions such as the effects of urbanization on critical zone processes; critical zone function in semi-arid landscapes and the role of dust in sustaining these ecosystems; processes in deep bedrock and their relationship to critical zone evolution; the recovery of the critical zone from disturbances such as fire and flooding; and changes in the coastal critical zone related to rising sea level, among others.

"There's so much still to be learned about the planet we call home," says Richard Yuretich, NSF program director for the CZCN. "These new awards will allow scientists to develop systems-level models to predict how the critical zone is responding to natural and human-altered processes. The research, analysis and outreach activities supported by these grants are crucial for informing future decisions about how humans and the environment should interact."

Nine of the awards are for thematic clusters focused on science topics and one is for a network coordinating hub. The coordinating hub will manage data across projects, plan for future facility and equipment needs, and support outreach and education activities. This approach will lead to increased exchanges of data, information and learning opportunities for researchers and students at all levels.

More information about the CZCN is available on NSF's Critical Zone Collaborative Network website and in this list of awards.

Media Contacts: Media Affairs, NSF, (703) 292-7090,

Critical Zone Collaborative Network Awards

Network Hub Award:

Enabling, Supporting, and Communicating Critical Zone Research

NSF Award Numbers:  EAR-2012893 | EAR-2012748 | EAR-2012593
Principal Investigators: Jerad Bales (CUAHSI), Jeffery Horsburgh (USU), Kerstin Lehnert (Columbia U)
Co-Principal Investigator: David Tarboton (USU)
Twitter: @CriticalZoneOrg | @CUAHSI

Network Clusters:

Bedrock controls on the deep critical zone, landscapes, and ecosystems

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012357 | EAR-2012227 | EAR-2012353 | EAR-2012264 | EAR-2012408 | EAR-2012073 | EAR-2012316
Principal Investigators: Clifford Riebe (UW), Brady Flinchum (Clemson U), W. Steven Holbrook (VT), Ciaran Harman (JHU), Kamini Singha (Mines), Seulgi Moon (UC Los Angeles), Jorden Hayes (Dickinson)
Co-Principal Investigators: Dario Grana (UW), Bradley Carr (UW), Harihar Rajaram (JHU)

Urban Critical Zone processes along the Piedmont-Coastal Plain transition

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012340 | EAR-2012409 | EAR-2012616 | EAR-2012107 | EAR-2012344 | EAR-2012313 | EAR-2011617 | EAR-2012336
Principal Investigators: Claire Welty (UMBC), Daniel Bain (Pitt), Karen Prestegaard (UMD), Jonathan Duncan (PSU), Alan Berkowitz (CIES), Joel Moore (Towson U), Laura Toran (Temple U), Peter Groffman (CIES)
Co-Principal Investigators: Andrew Miller (UMBC), Mong-Han Huang (UMD)

CINet: Critical Interface Network in Intensively Managed Landscapes

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012850
Principal Investigators: Praveen Kumar (UIUC)
Co-Principal Investigators: Thanos Papanicolaou (UT), Timothy Filley (Purdue U), Ashlee Dere (UNO), Allison Goodwell (CU Denver)
Twitter: @CINetCluster | @CINetJScientist

Quantifying controls and feedbacks of dynamic storage on critical zone processes in western montane watersheds

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012669 | EAR-2012796 | EAR-2012730 | EAR-2012821 | EAR-2012310
Principal Investigators: Holly Barnard (CU Boulder), Pamela Sullivan (OSU), Alexis Navarre-Sitchler (Mines), Christina Tague (UC Santa Barbara), Adrian Harpold (UNR)
Co-Principal Investigator: Li Li (PSU), Eve-Lyn Hinckley (CU Boulder), Katherine Lininger (CU Boulder), Kamini Singha (Mines)

Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry in the Critical Zone

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012878 | EAR-2012633 | EAR-2012403
Principal Investigators: Emma Aronson (UC Riverside), Sharon Billings (KU), William McDowell (UNH)
Co-Principal Investigator: Stephen Hart (UC Merced), Jon Chorover (UA), Whendee Silver (UC Berkeley), Rachel Gallery (UA)

Using Big Data approaches to assess ecohydrological resilience across scales

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012123 | EAR-2012188 | EAR-2011346 | EAR-2011439 | EAR-2012080
Principal Investigators: Julia Perdrial (UVM), Adrian Harpold (UNR), Gabrielle Boisrame (DRI), Benjamin Abbott (BYU), Erin Seybold (KU)
Co-Principal Investigator: Byung Lee (UVM), Kristen Underwood (UVM), Regina Toolin (UVM), Donna Rizzo (UVM)
Twitter: @BigCzcn | Instagram: @czcnbigdatacluster

The Coastal Critical Zone: Processes that transform landscapes and fluxes between land and sea

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012484 | EAR-2012670 | EAR-2011941 | EAR-2012319 | EAR-2012322
Principal Investigators: Holly Michael (UD), Matthew Kirwan (VIMS), Katherine Tully (UMD), Keryn Gedan (GWU), Sergio Fagherazzi (BU)
Co-Principal Investigator: Yu-Ping Chin (UD), Jeanette Miller (UD), Angelia Seyfferth (UD), Stephanie Stotts (Wesley)

Patterns and controls of ecohydrology, CO2 fluxes, and nutrient availability in pedogenic carbonate-dominated dryland critical zones

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012475
Principal Investigators: Lixin Jin (UTEP)
Co-Principal Investigator: Lin Ma (UTEP), Jennie McLaren (UTEP), Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi (UTEP), Vanessa Lougheed (UTEP)

Dust in the Critical Zone from the Great Basin to the Rocky Mountains

NSF Award Numbers: EAR-2012091 | EAR-2012093 | EAR-2012082EAR-2012067 | EAR-2011910
Principal Investigators: Kevin Perry (Utah), Gregory Carling (BYU), Jeffrey Munroe (Middlebury), Maura Hahnenberger (SLCC), Janice Brahney (USU)
Co-Principal Investigator: Sara Skiles (Utah)

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