Observing Australia's 'Critical Zones'

A/Prof Martin Andersen undertaking isotope followingUNSW Sydney’s A/Prof Martin Andersen contributed to a successful Australian Research Council Large Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme (ARC LEIF) proposal which will enable important research and monitoring on Australia’s ‘Critical Zones’.

Within a landscape, the Critical Zone is the area from the plant canopy to bedrock, where multiple elements interact.  The ARC funding will enable the establishment of five initial sites to create a network of Critical Zone Observations (CZO) across Australia. These CZO will enable research in interactions of under- and above-ground environmental processes in the ‘Critical Zone’ and their responses to disturbance and change.

The sites will contain a common level of instrumentation to enable the fluxes of energy, water, carbon and solutes to be monitored. This will allow above-ground observations to be integrated with below-ground monitoring of soils, root zones, aquifers and microbiology. This will result in outcomes that will determine the sustainability of food, clean water, mineral resources and Australian ecosystems.

The successful proposal was led by A/Prof Sally Thompson  from The University of Western Australia, and the Australian CZO network (OZCZO), the first in the Southern Hemisphere, will be collaboratively developed and managed by a team of researchers from the University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide, the University of the Sunshine Coast, University Technology Sydney, and the University of New South Wales.

Further information is available here.

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