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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

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 NATIONALLY

CZOs at AGU 2016

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

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...

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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

EOS: Taking the Pulse of the Earth’s Surface Systems

04 Dec 2015 - Taking the Pulse of the Earth's Surface Systems In September of 2014, Laurel Larsen (UC Berkley), Elizabeth Hajek (Penn State), and others...

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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.

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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).


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...

IML-CZO Investigator Profiles: Andrew Stumpf (Illinois State Geological Survey)

01 Apr 2016 - Between roughly 2 million years ago and 10,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene Epoch or “Ice Age,” massive glaciers swept across...

More News >


Example Publications

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 NATIONALLY

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

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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

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Chapter 2 – The Role of Critical Zone Observatories in Critical Zone Science. White T., Brantley S., Banwart S., Chorover J., Dietrich W., Derry L., Lohse K., Anderson S., Aufdendkampe A., Bales R., Kumar P., Richter D., McDowell B. (2015): Developments in Earth Surface Processes 19: 15–78 Cross-CZO National

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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


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

Water quality estimation of river plumes in Southern Lake Michigan using Hyperion. Tan, J, K.A. Cherkauer, I. Chaubey, C.D. Troy, and R. Essig (2016): Journal of Great Lakes Research

More Publications >