Water Institute Faculty Fellow Jon Martin, and Director Wendy Graham, in collaboration with Laura Toran (Temple University) and Matt Covington (University of Arkansas) were awarded  NSF grant to create a Carbonate Critical Zone Research Coordination Network (Carbonate CZ-RCN).

The Earth’s Critical Zone, defined as the region from the tops of the trees to the bottom of the groundwater, provides life-sustaining resources including food production, water quality, and other ecosystem services.  Over the last decade the National Science Foundation funded critical zone observatory (CZO) network has transformed our  understanding of how critical zone (CZ) processes regulate the production of these services.  However, none of the CZOs within the network occur in landscapes underlain by carbonate bedrock (which cover about a quarter of Earth’s land surface and underlie the entire state of Florida), limiting the development of a holistic understanding of CZ processes.

This project aims to integrate transdisciplinary investigators studying disparate carbonate CZ’s and foster collaboration among these investigators and existing CZO network participants. To do so, the network will:

1) Compile available data, models and current research in carbonate CZs to identify critical knowledge gaps and develop forward-looking research questions and testable hypotheses;

2) Facilitate interactions among carbonate investigators by convening workshops, in the field and at major disciplinary conferences;

3) Build capacity within the carbonate science community by providing training in state of the art techniques used to study carbonate CZs;

4) Use data compilation, workshop participation and training to advance understanding of processes and characteristics of carbonate CZs, as well as across all CZs;

The steering committee for the network will include Jon Martin (U Florida), Laura Toran (Temple U), Matt Covington (U Arkansas), Jenn Macalady (Penn State U), Jim Heffernan (Duke U), Pam Sullivan (U Kansas), and Wendy Graham (U Florida). Water Institute Research Coordinator Paloma Carton de Grammont will coordinate the network. An explicit goal of the network is to increase participation of underrepresented groups.

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