Understanding the Links between Surface and Subsurface Biogeosphere
CRC AquaDiva Retreat 2023
Image: Thomas Ritschel
Aim of the Collaborative Research Centre 1076 AquaDiva
The Critical Zone (CZ) is the Earth's porous skin where air, water, and rock intersect and interact with life. It is critical because this is the zone where humans live, and we depend on its resources, from clean water to food production and climate regulation. The CZ extends downward from the vegetation through soil to the subsurface, including deep soil, weathered rock, and groundwater, hundreds of meters deep. Although these different compartments are connected by fluid flow and matter transport, they are mostly studied separately. Pollution, land-use, and climate change increasingly impact and alter CZ's surface compartments, but we do not understand the consequences for the subsurface.
The principle aim of the CRC AquaDiva is to increase our understanding of how water (Aqua) links surface and subsurface and how local geology and surface conditions set subsurface functional diversity (Diva) and ecology. CRC AquaDiva's overarching research questions are: How deep do surface 'signals' penetrate into the subsurface? What is the role of events in the dynamics of the subsurface biogeoreactors? What is more important to subsurface life - land cover or geology?