REU/RET Site: Collaborative Research: Introducing Critical Zone Observatory Science to Students and Teachers

Project: Research project

Project Details


Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs) are natural laboratories for investigating Earth surface processes mediated by fresh water in the zone extending from the top of the vegetation canopy to the base of groundwater, i.e. the Critical Zone. This award supports the participation of undergraduate students and teachers in research at two Critical Zone Observatories, the Susquehanna-Shale Hills Observatory (SSHO) in central Pennsylvania and the Christina River Basin (CRB) CZO in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. Pennsylvania State University is the lead institution of the SSHO and would collaborate with the Stroud Water Research Center (SWRC), a partner in the CRB CZO. The collaborative project will fund a total of 12 undergraduate students and 4 teachers at these sites per year, providing research experiences for undergraduates primarily interested in Earth Science careers and K-12 teachers who want to increase their content knowledge and resources for the classroom. At the CRB, participants will be involved in research investigating aspects of the impact of three centuries of human habitation on the carbon and water cycles. At the SSHO, participants will be involved in research to quantitatively predict the creation, evolution and structure of regolith as a function of the geochemical, hydrologic, biologic, and geomorphological processes operating in the temperate, forested landscape. After the summer experience, participants will prepare and give presentations at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. CZOs offer a unique opportunity for training undergraduate students and teachers via research experiences because of the broad array of environmental landscapes represented by the observatories and the interdisciplinary science achieved through the observatory framework.

Effective start/end date9/15/138/31/17


  • National Science Foundation: $323,974.00


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