A Pennsylvania cliff, illustrating a cross section of the Critical Zone with trees, soil, and bedrock.
This module teaches how to evaluate the water balance of an ecosystem---a growing challenge as we face increasingly unpredictable water supplies coupled with rising demand for water across all sectors. The module is part of a undergraduate course on CZ Science hosted by InTeGrate SERC.
Grades 15 -
Hydrology • WaterChemistry • Biology/Ecology
Author(s): Martha Conklin, SSCZO staff and students (University of California, Merced)
Funding: National Science Foundation–funded SERC InTeGrate project
Details for this Resource
In this module, students learn about the links between the water cycle and the different components of the Critical Zone. By using mathematical and symbolic models, students will use a systems-based approach to analyze water balance components. Features of this module include the application of an experimental design for water-balance assessment, the use of data gathered by researchers at Critical Zone Observatories, and practice developing a water resource management plan under a given context. The final activity is to develop a water resource allocation plan while acknowledging the trade-offs between the environmental needs and human population needs.