CZO REU / RET 2016

For the third summer, Shale Hills CZO and Christina River CZO hosts a cohort of REUs and RETs to acquire experience in critical zone science, both in the field and laboratory.  As in years prior, participants engaged in orientation at both observatories and the project will culminate with presetations at the 2016 CUAHSI Biennial Colloquium in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  Photo Gallery 2016

CZO REU / RET 2015

Funded by the National Science Foundation, eight REU/RET participants with Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory joined seven REU/RET participants with Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory (CRBCZO) for orientation at Penn State.  Initial days introduced critical zone science, field techniques, and explored the Shale Hills and Garner Run catchments.  The cohort then traveled to Stroud Water Research Center (SWRC) for orientation which included field tours of the Christina CZO, laboratory tours at SWRC, as well as a sensor workshop.  Participants will engage in critical zone research projects for the remainder of the program, working closely with their faculty mentor.  The program culminated in a oral/poster presentation session and attendance at the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD.  Photo Gallery 2015

CZO REU / RET 2014

Six REU and two RET participants spent the summer learning interdisciplinary field and laboratory techniques which focus on critical zone science.  The Shale Hills CZO participants joined the Christina River CZO participants (five REU and 1 RET) during the first week for orientation that took place at both CZOs.  Each participant worked with a mentor during the summer on a project which was presented at the CUAHSI Biennial meeting in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.   Presentations are available here:  2014 CUAHSI Biennial Colloquium

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows  

Seven postdoctoral fellows (Table 1) and 20 graduate students (Table 2) at Penn State University were partially supported with CZO funds (Soil Science, Meteorology, Ecology, Geosciences, Civil & Environmental Engineering).  Of these, 50% were female. 

Table 1. SSHCZO Postdoctoral scholars
Postdoctoral Scholar Advisor Research
K. Bazilevskaya Brantley Regolith formation & porewater chemistry (DOE funded)
P. Chattopadhyay Singha Short- and log-term aquifer behavior
C. Graham Lin/Duffy Soil moisture at SSHCZO
L. Jin Brantley Regolith formation & porewater chemistry
L. Ma Brantley U-series isotope analysis during regolith formation
K. Naithani Eissenstat/Davis Quantitative plant ecology
Y. Zhao Lin Spatial and temporal patterns of soil moisture

Table 2. SSHCZO Graduate Students
Name Discipline Degree Date
D.M. Andrews Soil Science Ph.D. 2011
D. Baldwin Soil Science M.S. 2011
W. Berger Soil Science M.S. TBD
A. Dere Geosciences Ph.D. 2013
K. Gaines Ecology Ph.D. 2015
E. Herndon Geosciences Ph.D. 2012
G.H. Holmes III Civil Engineering M.S. 2011
M. Kumar Civil Engineering Ph.D. 2009
B. Kuntz Geosciences M.S. 2010
W. Li Civil Engineering M.S. 2010
Y. Shi Meteorology Ph.D. 2012
L. Smith Ecology M.S.  2013
K. Takagi Soil Science M.S.  2009
E. Thomas Civil Engineering M.S.  2013
N. West Geosciences Ph.D. 2014
J. Wubbles Horticulture M.S. 2010
T. Yesavage Geosciences Ph.D. 2014
X. Yu Civil Engineering Ph.D. 2014
J. Zhang Soil Science Ph.D. 2011
Y. Zhang Environmental Engineering Ph.D. 2015


Undergraduate students

Six Penn State University undergraduates presented research at conferences or as theses. Other students participating in the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) or through satellite-site institutions presented their research (Table 3). See below for more information about NSF-REU activities.

Table 3. Undergraduate theses or presentation at national meetings
Name Institution Presentation Research
A. Carone Penn State Univ. B.S. Thesis (2012) Weathering of Marcellus shale
T. Daniels Penn State Univ. B.S. Thesis (2009) Lithologic controls on flow
K. Downie Juniata College GSA Regional (2012) Metal isotopes in Marcellus soil
P. Giri Penn State Univ. B.S. Thesis (2009) Soil geochemistry on Rose Hill shale
L. Leidel Penn State Univ. AGU Fall Meeting (2011) Soil geochemistry from satellites
S. MacDonald Colgate Univ. Goldschmidt Conf. (2010) Clay mineral weathering in shale
E. Mann Wash. & Lee Univ. AGU Fall Meeting (2011) Tree throw in Appalachian transect
D. Mizsei Penn State Univ. B.S. Thesis (2010)  Soil carbon at SSHCZO
J. Paul Juniata College GSA Annual (2010) Weathering of Marcellus shale
V. Prush Juniata College. GSA Annual (2009) Weathering of Marcellus shale
B. Twiest Penn State Univ. B.S. Thesis (2012) Theoretical energy balance in vegetated hills
L. Vazguez-Albelo Univ. Puerto Rico B.S. Thesis (2011) Shale weathering in Puerto Rico

Hydrogeophysics Field Camp 2009 - 2012

The 3 week Hydrogeophysics Field Experience with Dr. Kamini Singha engages undergraduate students from mid-May to early-June each summer. Four students were from Penn State, and five came from Historically Black Colleges and Universities: three students attended from Jackson State University in Mississippi and one each from Fort Valley State University in Georgia and Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. These students combined field experimentation, data analysis, and numerical modeling with in-class instruction during the three-week program to develop hypotheses regarding the processes controlling solute transport. The Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory was the "home base"  for this field camp. Environmental consultants, government employees, and small companies will be coming through the field camp to demonstrate hydrogeophysical field equipment and highlight jobs in environmental fields. Graduates from this program are able to: (1) apply their knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to real field problems, (2) conduct experiments and analyze / interpret data, (3) function in multidisciplinary teams, and (4) communicate their scientific data and analyses effectively.

To view images from each summer camp, click the year here!  || 2009 || 2010 || 2011 || 2012

NSF REU Summer Field School 2011

The 2011 NSF sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) included a two week trip to the Shale Transect sites in the Appalachian Mountains and one week at Penn State processing samples and data. Students learned to collect soil samples using a hand auger and soil pit, describe soils, collect and process ground penetrating radar (GPR) images, map and sample stratigraphic sections, download data from weather stations, collect soil bulk density measurements and grind/fuse soils and rock for chemical analysis.  Participating students included (L to R): Eric Heider (Univ. of Tennessee), Feron Washington (Alabama A&M), Ricardo Ruiz-Velez (Univ. PR-Mayaguez), Lizzy Mann (Washington & Lee), Deborah Vazguez-Ortiz (Univ. PR-Mayaguez), Katie Downey (Juniata College) and Lauren Leidel (Penn Sate), along with trip leaders Tim White (Penn State) and Ashlee Dere (Penn State).

NSF REU Summer Field School 2010

The 2010 NSF sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) included three weeks of field training at Penn State University.  Students participated in field activities such as digging and describing soil pits, collecting ground penetrating radar (GPR) data, installing weather stations, measuring fracture density and learning about local geology.  Participants in the field school included seven undergraduate students from the U.S.: Angel Adames-Corraliza (Univ. PR-Mayaguez), Paul Justin (Juniata College), Kelsea Wagner (St. Francis College), Lorena Vazguez-Albelo (Univ. PR-Mayaguez), Feron Washington (Alabama A&M), Sarah Lemon (Colgate Univ.), Gary Marshall (Colgate Univ.) and Renata Carlson (Washington & Lee).


Graduate and postdoctoral researchers from the European SoilTrec network also participated in the program: Silviya Yordanova (Inst. of Soil Science – Bulgaria), Taru Lehtinen (Univ. of Iceland), Leona Zemanova (Czech Geol. Survey), Ruth Hindshaw (ETH Zurich), Fotini Stamati (Tech. Univ. of Crete), Florian Cobert (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France), Georg Lair (Univ. of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Austria), Lyla Taylor (Univ. of Sheffield) and Manos Kotronakis (Tech. Univ. of Crete).

The Outdoor Classroom

Lehigh University Professor Frank Pazzaglia brought his geology class to visit the Shale Hills CZO on March 28th, 2009 and Professor Daniel Bain brought his Groundwater Geology Class to visit from the University of Pittsburgh on April 3rd, 2009.  During each class visit, the students received an overview of the Critical Zone Observatory project and a field guide to accompany the day's activities. The group covered topics both in the water laboratory and in the field. The following demonstrations were provided to the students in ~1 hr discussions:

  • 18O and H2 Isotopes using the Los Gatos Laser Isotope Analyzer
  • Geology of the region and Shale Hills specifically
  • Tour of Shale Hills Infrastructure including data retrieval, communications, wireless network and overall hydrological experimental design
  • Geophysical techniques and execution of a well log exercise
  • Soil Pit and Soil Moisture experimental design and data collection techniques
  • Geochemistry experimental design, current results and collection of Lysimeter and ISCO Data
  • Ecophysiology of Tree Species in the Shale Hills Catchment. Overview of speciation by landscape position and design of Sap Flow experiments

REU Summer Field School 2011

REU summer field school students learn how to collect ground penetrating radar images in the SSHO CZO.

REU summer field school students look for rock outcrops in a stream in the watershed adjacent to Shale Hills.

REU summer field school students learn how to construct a weather station at the Shale Hills catchment.

2016 CZO REU / RET Cohort at the Nittany Lion Shrine, Pennsylvania State University.

Creekside field discussions at Sinking Creek.

Hydology discussions

Ecology discussions

Associated Files

Field School 2010
(12 MB pptx)
International CZO Field School 2010

Field School 2011
(11 MB pptx)
REU FIeld School 2011



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