Growing new generations of critical zone scientists

Adam S. Wymore, Nicole R. West, Kate Maher, Pamela L. Sullivan, Adrian Harpold, Diana Karwan, Jill A. Marshall, Julia Perdrial, Daniella M. Rempe, Lin Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Critical zone (CZ) science is entering its second decade. A new generation of scientists is emerging trained specifically in CZ science and are contributing to advances in environmental science across disciplines. Concurrently, the global scope of CZ science is being elevated as new countries invest in CZ observatories. Global CZ science has great potential to address a diverse array of questions beyond any single discipline. In this commentary we discuss a series of CZ science grand challenges that should be targeted by early-career researchers: understanding water availability in the CZ; expanding CZ science into new environments; communicating the societal relevance of CZ science including earthcasting to the public; seamlessly integrating biological sciences within the CZ framework; and scaling CZ processes over large spatial and temporal gradients. Targeting these grand challenges will push CZ science well into the future. We also highlight mechanisms for increased leadership within the CZ community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2498-2502
Number of pages5
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number14
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • critical zone observatories
  • critical zone science
  • early-career
  • earth systems research
  • grand challenges

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