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The Sangamon River in Central Illinois flows through farmland, as well as more urban areas.

The central hypothesis for the IML-CZO is that, through human modification, the critical zone of IMLs has passed a tipping point (or threshold) and has changed from being a transformer of material flux, with high nutrient, water, and sediment storage, to being a transporter. This change threatens the resilience of the landscape to accommodate future impacts associated with ongoing human activity, including climate change and bioenergy crop production. The vulnerability of the IMLs increases as these human activities intensify, compromising the sustainability of key critical-zone services on which ecological systems and human populations depend. Understanding and quantifying shifts in the response of the critical zone to human development remains a challenge, and current assessments are at best qualitative.

The IML-CZO will first examine how:

  1. Glacial legacy effects of surficial geologic materials influence the CZ response to human impacts by establishing baseline conditions of soil resilience, as well as landscape and soil evolution trajectories and rates (Theme A).
  2. Intensive cultivation, in conjunction with increased bioenergy crop adoption and prevalent freeze-thaw cycles, transforms Soil Organic Matter (SOM), which in turn affects soil structure, nutrient cycling, and ecosystem services (Theme B).
  3. Anthropogenic alteration of the hydrological landscape with engineered drainage infrastructure, such as tiles, regulates the migration and fate of water fluxes and Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) and nutrients (Theme C).
  4. Channelization introduces human agency as a flux in sediment budgets, resulting in altered regimes of sediment production and storage, as well as drastic morphodynamic changes that sculpt the landscape of the IML-CZO (Theme D).

Researchers will next capture the connectivity of contemporary hydrological, geomorphological, and biogeochemical processes along different flow paths by quantifying the stores and residence times of water, SOM, DOC, and sediment.

Spring lures farmers and researchers alike out into the fields.

The Sangamon River in Central Illinois flows through farmland, as well as more urban areas.

Spring lures farmers and researchers alike out into the fields.


Gallery

IML-CZO Research: Breaking New Ground

The IML-CZO focuses on the Midwest, which is one of the most intensively managed landscapes in the world.


Research News

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Water Resources Research Special Collection: Concentration-discharge relations in the critical zone

30 Oct 2017 - Water Resources Research published a new special collection in September 2017 featuring concentration-discharge research from multiple CZOs.

FEATURED NATIONALLY

What Causes Ecological Shifts?

17 Oct 2017 - A new information partitioning methodology allows researchers to identify the factors that drive behavior in an ecohydrologic system.

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Stories in the Soil

17 Oct 2017 - A series of field experiments in the U.S. Midwest is investigating how past, present, & future human activities and climate affect the health of soil.

FEATURED NATIONALLY

NSF News Release: Changes in non-extreme precipitation may have not-so-subtle consequences

18 Sep 2017 - Analysis of more than five decades of data leads to new conclusions

FEATURED

NSF Discovery: Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds

21 Jun 2017 - Scientists obtain comprehensive view of agricultural ecosystems

FEATURED

What’s Good for Crops not Always Good for the Environment

17 Apr 2017 - What's good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key plant nutrient, can cause problems when it leaches into water supplies.

FEATURED

2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society

06 Apr 2017 - 2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society.

FEATURED

’Weather Whiplash’ Triggered by Changing Climate Will Degrade Midwest’s Drinking Water

03 Apr 2017 - One consequence of global climate change is the likelihood of more extreme seesawing between drought and flood, a phenomenon dubbed “weather...

FEATURED

Soybean plants with fewer leaves yield more

23 Nov 2016 - Scientists predict that modern soybeans produce more leaves than they need to the detriment of yield—made worse by rising atmospheric CO2.

FEATURED

Video: Critical Zone Observatories help U.S. plan for the future

21 Mar 2016 - The short video features the Intensely Managed Landscapes Critical Zone Observatory (IML-CZO) with commentary from IML Co-Director Praveen Kumar.

FEATURED

Logjam Clogs Sangamon River, just as it did in the 1930s and ‘40s

06 Feb 2016 - About half a mile of logs and other debris stretches across the Sangamon River in Cass County about two miles from where it joins the Illinois...

FEATURED

EOS Spotlight: Conservation Farming Shown to Protect Carbon in Soil

04 Feb 2016 - A closer look at cultivated land informs actions to protect the vitality of our soil.

FEATURED

The Coming Blue Revolution

03 Feb 2016 - Review of P. Kumar's journal publication, "Hydrocomplexity: Addressing water security and emergent environmental risks" in Water Resources Research.

FEATURED

U.S.-China EcoPartnership for Environmental Sustainability Conference Summary

01 Feb 2016 - Summary of a conference and workshop dedicated to Critical Zone Science, Sustainability, and Services in a Changing World hosted by Purdue University.

FEATURED

Critical Zone Profiles - Meet the people doing CZO science (IML CZO)

28 Nov 2015 - Get a sense of the people and the work. Several members of the Intensively Managed Landscapes (IML) CZO are profiled here.

FEATURED

Did Dust Bowl’s ravages end in the 1940s? New study says no

13 Nov 2015 - A new study has shown that soil quality actually continued to decline until the 1980s and even now isn't back to pre-Dust Bowl levels.

FEATURED

FIML Art-Science Rendition of IMLCZO

04 Nov 2015 - This video portrays an artistic rendition of Critical Zone Observatory for Intensively Managed Landscapes (http://imlczo.org).


CZOs at AGU 2016

22 Nov 2016 - CZOs at AGU 2016: Agenda and award recipients

Clear Creek Watershed Research & Conservation Efforts: Katie Goff

07 Jul 2016 - Katie Goff is a masters student studying earth and environmental sciences at the University of Iowa. As part of her research, Goff collects data and...

Clear Creek Watershed Research & Conservation Efforts: Rai Tokuhisa

29 Jun 2016 - Rai Tokuhisa is a master's student studying hydraulics and water resources engineering at the University of Iowa. As part of her research,...

IML-CZO Investigator Profiles: Marian Muste (University of Iowa)

15 Apr 2016 - During his first two years in the United States, IML-CZO investigator Dr. Marian Muste experienced two events that would become major news stories...

IML-CZO Investigator Profiles: Aaron Packman (Northwestern University)

08 Apr 2016 - Journalist Michael Pollan once said: “In one handful of soil there are more organisms than there are humans on earth and we are only beginning...

More News >


Example Publications

FEATURED

Functional Topology of Evolving Urban Drainage Networks. Yang, S., Paik, K., McGrath, G., Urich, C., Krueger, E., Kumar, P., and Rao, P. (2017): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Source-to-sink sedimentary systems and global carbon burial: A river runs through it. Leithold, E., Blair, N., and Wegmann, K. (2017): Earth-Science Reviews

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Growing new generations of critical zone scientists. Wymore Adam S., Nicole R. West, Kate Maher, Pamela L. Sullivan, Adrian Harpold, Diana Karwan, Jill A. Marshall, Julia Perdrial, Daniella M. Rempe and Lin Ma (2017): Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 42 (14): 2498-2502 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

Microbial diversity in an intensively managed landscape is structured by landscape connectivity . Griffin, J.S., Lu, N., Sangwan, N., Li, A., Dsouza, M., Stumpf, A.J., Sevilla, T., Culotti, A., Keefer, L.L., Kelly, J.J., Gilbert, J.A., Wells, G.F., and Packman, A.I. (2017): FEMS Microbiology Ecology

FEATURED

Quantifying the changes of soil surface microroughness due to rainfall impact on a smooth surface. Abban, B., Papanicolaou, A.N., Giannopoulos, C.P., Dermisis, D.C., Wacha, K.M., Wilson, C.G., and Elhakeem, M. (2017): Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Hydrogeomorphological differentiation between floodplains and terraces. Qina Yan, Toshiki Iwasaki, Andrew Stumpf, Patrick Belmont, Gary Parker, Praveen Kumar (2017): Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

FEATURED

Patterns of change in high frequency precipitation variability over North America. Roque-Malo, S. and Kumar, P. (2017): Nature.com

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Impacts of hydraulic redistribution on grass–tree competition vs facilitation in a semi-arid savanna. Barron-Gafford G.A., Sanchez-Cañete E.P., Minor R.L., Hendryx S.M., Lee E., Sutter L.F., Tran N., Parra E., Colella T., Murphy P.C., Hamerlynck E.P., Kumar P. and Scott R.L. (2017): New Phytologist 215(4): 1451–1461 Cross-CZO

FEATURED

Impacts of Hydraulic Redistribution on Grass-tree Competition vs Facilitation in a Semi-arid Savanna. Barron-Gafford, G.A., Sanchez-Canete, E.P., Minor, R.L., Hendryx, S.M., Lee, E., Sutter, L.F., Tran, N., Parra, E., Colella, T., Murphy, P.C., Hamerlynck, E.P., Kumar, P., and Scott, R.L. (2017): New Phytologist

FEATURED

Temporal Information Partitioning Networks (TIPNets): A Process Network Approach to Infer Ecohydrologic Shifts. Goodwell, A.E. and Kumar, P. (2017): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Temporal Information Partitioning: Characterizing Synergy, Uniqueness, and Redundancy in Interacting Environmental Variables. Goodwell, A.E., and Kumar, P. (2017): Water Resources Research 53, 2017

FEATURED

Critical Zone services as environmental assessment criteria in intensively managed landscapes. Richardson, M., and Kumar, P. (2017): Earth's Future

FEATURED

Identification and characterization of information-networks in long-tail data collections. Elag, M.M., Kumar, P., Marini, L., Myers, J.D., Hedstrom, M., and Plale, B.A. (2017): Environmental Modelling & Software

FEATURED

Understanding mass fluvial erosion along a bank profile: Using PEEP technology for Quantifying Retreat Lengths and Identifying Event Timing. Papanicolaou, A.N., Wilson, C.G., Tsakiris, A.G., Sutarto, T.E., Bertrand, F., Rinaldi, M., Dey, S., and Langendoen, E. (2017): Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

FEATURED

Weather whiplash in agricultural regions drives deterioration of water quality. Loecke, T.D., Burgin, A.J., Riveros-Iregui, D.A., Ward, A.S., Thomas, S.A., Davis, C.A., and St. Clair, M.A. (2017): Biogeochemistry Letters

FEATURED

Using Magnetic Fly Ash to Identify Post-Settlement Alluvium and its Record of Atmospheric Pollution, Central USA. Grimley, D., Anders, A., Bettis, E.A., Bates, B., Wang, J. Butler, S., and Huot, S (2017): Anthropocene

FEATURED

A service-oriented architecture for coupling web service models using the Basic Model Interface (BMI). Jiang, P., Elag, M., Kumar, P., Peckham, S.D., Marini, L., and Rui, L. (2017): Environmental Modelling & Software

FEATURED

Comment on ‘‘Climate and agricultural land use change impacts on streamflow in the upper midwestern United States’’ by Satish C Gupta et al. Foufoula-Georgiou, E., Belmont, P., Wilcock, P., Gran, K., Finlay, J.C., Kumar, P., Gzuba, J.A., Schwenk, J., and Takbiri, Z. (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Characterizing Vegetation Canopy Structure Using Airborne Remote Sensing Data. Dutta, D., Wang, K., Lee, E., Goodwell, A., Woo, D.K., Wagner, D., and Kumar, P. (2016): IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing

FEATURED

Decreasing, not increasing, leaf area will raise crop yields under global atmospheric change. Srinivasan, V., Kumar, P., and Long, S.P. (2016): Global Change Biology

FEATURED

How does reach-scale stream-hyporheic transport vary with discharge? Insights from rSAS analysis of sequential tracer injections in a headwater mountain stream. Harman, C.J., Ward, A.S., and Ball, A. (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Optimizing Sampling Strategies for Riverine Nitrate Using High-frequency Data in Agricultural Watersheds. Reynolds, K.N., Loecke, T.D., Burgin, A.J., Davis, C.A., Riveros-Iregui, D., Thomas, S.A., St. Clair, M.A., and Ward, A.S. (2016): Environmental Science & Technology

FEATURED

Dynamic Assessment of Current Management in an Intensively Managed Agroecosystem. Wilson, C.G., Wacha, K.M., Papanicolaou, A.N., Sander, H.,A., Freudenberg, V.B., Abban, B.K., and Zhao, C (2016): Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education

FEATURED

Hyporheic exchange controlled by dynamic hydrologic boundary conditions. Schmadel, N.M., Ward, A.S., Lowry, C.S., and Malzone, J.M. (2016): Geophysical Research Letters

FEATURED

Hydrogeomorphic controls on hyporheic and riparian transport in two headwater mountain streams during base flow recession. Ward, A.S., Schmadel, N.M., Wondzell, S.M., Harman, C., Gooseff, M.N., and Singha, K. (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Response of the hyporheic zone to transient groundwater fluctuations on the annual and storm event time scales. Malzone, J.M., Lowry, C.S., and Ward, A.S. (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Spatio-temporally variable controls confound transport process interpretation of stream solute tracers. Schmadel, NM, AS Ward, MJ Kurz, JH Fleckenstein, JP Zarnetske, DM Hannah, T Blume, T Datry, M Vieweg, C Schmidt, PH Blaen, MJ Klaar, J Knapp, P Romeijn, T Keller, S Folegot, A Marruedo, S Krause (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Mean Age Distribution of Inorganic Soil-nitrogen. Woo, D.K., and Kumar, P. (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

An enhanced Bayesian fingerprinting framework for studying sediment source dynamics in intensively managed landscapes. Abban, B., Papanicolaou, A.N., Cowles, M.K., Wilson, C.G., Abaci, O., Wacha, K., Schilling, K., and Schnoebelen, D. (2016): Water Resources Research

FEATURED

Effects of Land Cover on Streamflow Variability in a Small Iowa Watershed: Assessing Future Vulnerabilities. Schilling, K., M. Streeter, K. Hutchinson, C.G. Wilson, B.K. Abban, K.M. Wacha and A.N. Papanicolaou (2015): American Journal of Environmental Sciences

FEATURED

From soilscapes to landscapes: A landscape-oriented approach to simulate soil organic carbon dynamics in intensively managed landscapes. Papanicolaou, A.N., K.M. Wacha, B.K. Abban, C.G. Wilson, J. Hatfield, C. Stanier, and T. Filley (2015): Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

FEATURED

The evolution and state of interdisciplinary hyporheic research. Ward, A. (2015): WIREs Water 2015

FEATURED

Information Theoretic Measures to Infer Feedback Dynamics in Coupled Logistic Networks. Goodwell, A., Kumar, P. (2015): Entropy 2015, 17, 7468-7492

FEATURED

Historical changes in channel network extent and channel planform in an intensively managed landscape: Natural versus human-induced effects. Rhoads, B.L., Lewis, Q.W., and Andresen, W. (2015): Geomorphology

FEATURED

GPU-based high-performance computing for integrated surface–sub-surface flow modeling. Le, P.V.V., Kumar, P., Valocchi, A.J., and Dang, H.-V. (2015): Environmental Modelling & Software

FEATURED

Hydrocomplexity: Addressing Water Security and Emergent Environmental Risks. Kumar, P. (2015): Water Resources Research, 51: pp12

FEATURED

Enhanced Vadose Zone Nitrogen Removal by Poplar During Dormancy. Ausland, H., Ward, A., Licht, L., and Just, C (2015): International Journal of Phytoremediation

FEATURED

On the Feasibility of Characterizing Soil Properties From AVIRIS Data. Dutta, D., Goodwell, A.E., Kumar, P., Garvey, J.E., Darmody, R.G., Berretta, D.P., and Greenberg, J.A. (2015): IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing

FEATURED

Coupled reversion and stream-hyporheic exchange processes increase environmental persistence of trenbolone metabolites. Ward, A.S., Cwiertny, D.M., Kolodziej, E.P., and Brehm, C.C. (2015): Nature Communications

FEATURED

Spatial variability of saturated hydraulic conductivity at the hillslope scale: Understanding the role of land management and erosional effect. Papanicolaou, A.N., Elhakeem, M., Wilson, C.G., Burras, C.L., West, L.T., Lin, H., Clark, B., and Oneal, B.E. (2015): Geoderma

FEATURED

Threshold Dynamics in Soil Carbon Storage for Bioenergy Crops. Woo, D.K., Quijano, J.C., Kumar, P., Chaoka, S., Bernacchi, C.J. (2014): Environmental Science & Technology

FEATURED

A stability analysis of semi-cohesive streambanks with CONCEPTS: Couple field and laboratory investigations to quantify the onset of fluvial erosion and mass failure. Sutarto, T.E., Papanicolaou, A.N., Wilson, C.G., and Langendoen, E. (2014): Journal of Hydraulic Engineering-ASCE

FEATURED

Power law scaling of topographic depressions and their hydrologic connectivity. Phong, V. V. Le and Praveen Kumar, P. (2014): Geophysical Research Letters

FEATURED

Emergent and divergent resilience behavior in catastrophic shift systems. Srinivasan, V. and Kumar, P. (2014): Ecological Modelling

FEATURED

Simultaneous improvement in productivity, water use, and albedo through crop structural modification. Drewry, D.T., Kumar, P., and Long, S.P. (2014): Global Change Biology


Designing a network of critical zone observatories to explore the living skin of the terrestrial Earth. Brantley, S.L., McDowell, W.H., Dietrich, W.E., White, T.S., Kumar, P., Anderson, S., Chorover, J., Lohse, K.A., Bales, R.C., Richter, D., Grant, G., and Gaillardet, J. (2017): Earth Surface Dynamics Cross-CZO National

Radiogenic and stable Sr isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr, δ88/86Sr) as tracers of chemical weathering and biogeochemical cycling in the Milford Sound region of Fiordland, New Zealand. Andrews M. G., Jacobson A. D., Lehn G. O., Horton T. W., and Craw D. (2016): Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 173: 284-303

Soil microbial response to photo-degraded C 60 fullerenes. Berry, T.D., Clavijo, A.P., Zhao, Y., Jafvert, C.T., Turco, R.F., and Filley, T.R. (2016): Environmental Pollution 211: 338-345

Size and variability of crop productivity both impacted by CO2 enrichment and warming—A case study of 4 year field experiment in a Chinese paddy. Wang, J., Liu, X., Zhang, X., Smith, P., Li, T., Filley, T.R., Cheng, K., Shen, M., He, Y., and Pan, G. (2016): Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 221: 40-49

Weathering of pyrogenic organic matter induces fungal oxidative enzyme response in single culture inoculation experiments. Gibson, C., Berry, T.D., Wang, R., Spencer, J.A., Johnston, C.T., Jiang, Y., Bird, J.A., and Filley, T.R. (2016): Organic Geochemistry 92: 32-41

Patterns of woody plant-derived soil carbon losses and persistence after brush management in a semi-arid grassland. DeMarco, J., Filley, T., and Throop, H.L. (2016): Plant and Soil 1-17

Belowground competition among invading detritivores. Chang, C., Szlavecz, K., Filley, T., Buyer, J.S., Bernard, M.J., Pitz, S.L. (2016): Ecology 97: 160–170

More Publications >