Biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone

Adam S Wymore (Editor), Wendy Yang (Editor), Whendee L. Silver (Editor), William H. McDowell (Editor), Jon Chorover (Editor)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


This book highlights recent advances in the discipline of biogeochemistry that have directly resulted from the development of critical zone (CZ) science. The earth's critical zone (CZ) is defined from the weathering front and lowest extent of freely circulating groundwater up through the regolith and to the top of the vegetative canopy. The structure and function of the CZ is shaped through tectonic, lithologic, hydrologic, climatic, and biological processes and is the result of processes occurring at multiple time scales from eons to seconds. The CZ is an open system in which energy and matter are both transported and transformed. Critical zone science provides a novel and unifying framework to consider those coupled interactions that control biogeochemical cycles and fluxes of energy and matter that are critical to sustaining a habitable planet.
Biogeochemical processes are at the heart of energy and matter fluxes through ecosystems and watersheds. They control the quantity and quality of carbon and nutrients available for living organisms, control the retention and export of nutrients affecting water quality and soil fertility, and influence the ability for ecosystems to sequester carbon. As the term implies, biogeochemical cycles, and the rates at which they occur, result from the interaction of biological, chemical, and physical processes. However, finding a unifying framework by which to study these interactions is challenging, and the different components of bio-geo-chemistry are often studied in isolation.

The authors provide both reviews and original research contributions with the requirement that the chapters incorporate a CZ framework to test biogeochemical theory and/or develop new and robust predictive models regarding elemental cycles. The book demonstrates how the CZ framework provides novel insights into biogeochemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages202
ISBN (Electronic)9783030959210
ISBN (Print)9783030959203, 9783030959234
StatePublished - May 17 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Critical Zone Science
ISSN (Print)2731-5851
ISSN (Electronic)2731-586X


  • Biogeochemistry
  • soil biogeochemistry
  • organic geochemistry
  • carbon cycle
  • Microbial ecology
  • critical zone


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  • An Introduction to Biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone

    Wymore, A. S., Yang, W. H., Silver, W. L., McDowell, W. H. & Chorover, J., May 17 2022, Biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone. Wymore, A. S., Yang, W., Silver, W. L., McDowell, W. H. & Chorover, J. (eds.). Springer, p. 1-7 (Advances in Critical Zone Science).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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