Multiple Disciplines

The IML-CZO brings together excitement and a remarkable breadth and depth of expertise from six academic institutions:

  • Universities of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Iowa
  • Purdue University
  • Northwestern University
  • Penn State University
  • University of Minnesota

By necessity, this effort is also highly interdisciplinary. The CZO research brings together researchers from a number of fields (hydrology, engineering, earth and environmental sciences, geography, and more) to cooperate and collaborate. The IML-CZO offers the prospect for groundbreaking scientific advancement in critical zone research, thanks to the opportunity to study the CZ holistically. The critical zone is a system, and to fully understand a system one must study all its parts and the interconnections between them.

Sangamon River Valley, Illinois.

The CZO research provides an enormous opportunity for multidisciplinary research that serves to advance basic science and provide interdisciplinary solutions to the global societal challenges of food and water security and adaptation and mitigation to rapid climate change. By fostering these disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary approaches at IML-CZO, we have opportunities for scientific advancement in CZ research that have not yet been possible through traditional avenues due to the highly interdisciplinary nature of the challenges, which span many time scales and interfacing continuums. The IML-CZO's research benefits from this cooperation across and between disciplines.

Some of these benefits are discussed here:

As the IML-CZO team, with its diverse expertise, studies geologic time scale processes, our team leaders will cover the relationship between climate and landscape evolution (Alison Anders) and deep time scale processes related to paleopedology, weathering zones, and sedimentary environments (Art Bettis). They are supported by a strong team that includes expertise in hydropedology (Henry Lin), geochronology (Christopher Wilson), soil chemistry (Timothy Filley), glacial sedimentary processes (David Grimley), evolution of quaternary landscapes (Andrew Phillips), and geophysics (Timothy Larson).

In the study of short- and long-term dynamics of soil organic matter, Thanos Papanicolaou and Timothy Filley have extensive experience with both field-based and modeling studies of landscape-scale biogeochemical transformation and transport processes from hillslope to stream systems. They are supported by a team that brings together expertise in ecohydrologic modeling, including that associated with row crops (corn and soybeans) and bio-energy crops (Praveen Kumar), fate and evolution of dissolved organic carbon (Neal Blair), radionuclide tracers (Christopher Wilson), movement of solutes (Adam Ward), and geochemistry (Andrew Jacobson).

Thanos Papanicolaou (center) has extensive experience with field-based and modeling studies of biogeochemical transformation of the landscape.

The study of surface water and groundwater connectivity is perfect for an interdisciplinary research effort such as this. Neal Blair, who has done extensive work on biogeochemical transformations of carbon with an emphasis on process-oriented studies on the fate of organic carbon in surface environments, and Adam Ward, who has explored how hydrological connections between streams, landscapes, and aquifers control biogeochemical processes in the environment, are the co-leads of this effort. The team also includes expertise in sediment and biogeochemical transport (Thanos Papanicolaou); eco-hydrologic modeling (Praveen Kumar); carbon and nitrogen cycling in soils, litter, and streams (Timothy Filley); aqueous and isotopic geochemistry (Andrew Jacobson); sub-surface flow (Henry Lin); modeling (Indrajeet Chaubey); and tile drainage (Larry Weber). Together, this varied team of researchers can advance the science in ways that would not be possible if they were working alone.

The connectivity between water, soil, sediment, and the landscape is an extremely important area of study, and one that requires the expertise of several disciplines. Thanos Papanicolaou, who has published extensively on issues pertaining to transport of cohesionless/cohesive sediments, watershed sedimentation processes, fluvial hydraulics, river mechanics and morphology, and turbulent flows, and Bruce Rhoads, who has more than 25 years of experience in fluvial dynamics studies of Midwestern streams and the effects of land use/channelization, co-lead this effort. The supporting team includes exceptional expertise in river morphodynamics; mechanics of sediment transport and fluvial processes (Gary Parker); bank erosion and fingerprinting (Christopher Wilson); fluvial geomorphology (Laura Keefer); landscape evolution modeling (Alison Anders); restoration strategies for rivers and streams (Art Bettis); river mechanics and environmental hydraulics (Marcelo Garcia); hydrometeorology (Witold Krajewski); and soil erosion (Indrajeet Chaubey).

The IML-CZO research also includes an integrated modeling and critical zone services effort, led by Praveen Kumar, Henry Lin, and Thanos Papanicolaou co-lead this theme. Together, they cover a broad range of interactions, including vegetation-water-climate systems and predictability issues (Kumar); sub-surface structure and flow (Lin); and surficial transport of water, sediments, and biogeochemical constituents (Papanicolaou). All other participants will be involved with this effort, as constituent models will be developed and tested and incorporated into an integrated approach.

Thanos Papanicolaou (center) has extensive experience with field-based and modeling studies of biogeochemical transformation of the landscape.

iml Research Groups

View people and their activity per working group (foci and/or discipline based).

Discipline Tags

View people, news, events, publications, etc aggregated by discipline tag within and across CZOs. Most content is interdisciplinary and tagged with 2-3 disciplines.

e.g. carbon, nitrogen

Biology / Ecology
e.g. vegetation, ecosystems

Biology / Molecular
e.g. microbes, DNA

Climatology / Meteorology
e.g. weather, air pressure

Data Management / CyberInfrastructure
e.g. databases, Q/A, portals

Engineering / Method Development
e.g. wireless networks

Geochemistry / Mineralogy
e.g. elements, isotopes

Geology / Chronology
e.g. bedrock, age dating

e.g. landscape, sediment transport

e.g. seismic, radar, resistivity

GIS / Remote Sensing
e.g. maps, elevation, LiDAR

e.g. discharge, groundwater

Modeling / Computational Science
e.g. models, algorithms

Outreach / Education Research
e.g. assessment, interviews

Social Science
e.g. land-use history

Soil Science / Pedology
e.g. genesis, classification

Water Chemistry
e.g. surface water, solutes