This is a request to support US students and post-doctoral researcher participation in the 9th International Symposium on Geochemistry of the Earth?s Surface (GES-9) and in an International Critical Zone Student Symposium. GES-9 with about 150 international participants is a triennial meeting sponsored by the International Association of GeoChemistry (IAGC) and will be held at the University of Colorado, Boulder, June 3-7, 2011. The International Critical Zone Student Symposium will take place June 1-2, 2011. The goal is to train students to find the connections across spatial scales and disciplinary boundaries through in-depth presentations by leading scientists, exposure to new field sites, and discussions with colleagues around the world. All of these will happen for students in the focused week of activities associated with GES-9.

This award will directly support 15 young researchers and help them establish community with other critical zone researchers. A similar number of students from the SoilTrEC (Soil Transformations in European Catchments) project in Europe will participate in the event.

Project Report

(GES-9) on June 3-7, 2011 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The ICZSS was attended by the students and post-docs supported by this grant, plus 8 students from the European Commission's Framework 7 SoilTrEC project, and several students from the University of Colorado. The group spent one day on a field tour of the NSF-funded Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory. Field trip stops included presentations by students and researchers from the Boulder Creek CZO on the erosion history of the Colorado Front Range, soil formation, dissolved organic matter dynamics, microbial ecology, hydrology, and using geophysics to decipher the water, soil, and weathered rock boundaries in the subsurface. For the second day of the ICZSS, participants gave short oral presentations on their own research. Lunch and dinner was provided on the first day, and lunch on the second day. Through these activities, participants learned about research on the critical zone—the near surface environments that support life-- in Boulder as well as at sites across the world. The students and post-docs also developed connections with other participants, and were able to join the larger GES-9 meeting with a network of colleagues. All students and post-docs supported by this grant gave a poster presentation at the GES-9 meeting, and published an extended abstract in the conference proceedings, published in a special issue of Applied Geochemistry. The project contributed to Intellectual Merit through presenting an interdisciplinary approach to studying the Earth’s surface via the tour of the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory. The Broader Impacts of the project stem from supporting early career scientists to attend and participate in an international meeting (GES-9). Furthermore, the pre-meeting International Critical Zone Student Symposium provided a forum for these young scientists to forge connections with their peers across the country and in Europe. Afterwards, participants reported favorably on their experiences: "I definitely had many new ideas stirring in my mind" "I was inspired" "I had a lot of good interactions at my poster both with full fledged scientists and students" "it was very effective in fulfilling a number of goals" "the student symposium was an incredible experience"

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
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Enriqueta Barrera
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University of Colorado at Boulder
United States
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