The above overarching question drives the research
of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics
(NCED), a Science and Technology Center established in 2002 with the unifying goal of predicting
the coupled dynamics and coevolution of landscapes
and their ecosystems, in order to transform management and restoration of the Earth-surface environment.
Driven by our overarching scientific goal, NCED
tackles three grand challenges: (1) Developing a
mechanistic understanding of the erosional and
depositional processes that shape landscapes; (2)
Discovering the linkages between physical, chemical,
and biological processes; and (3) Using the understanding of landscape and ecosystem dynamics to
guide management decisions.
To address its overarching goal, NCED’s research
has been organized into three Integrated Programs
(IPs) each focusing on a major landscape component:
watersheds (Desktop Watersheds IP), individual
stream reaches (Stream Restoration IP), and deltas (Subsurface Architecture IP). All three IPs involve issues of human impact,
management, and restoration and embrace a two-way collaboration between those developing knowledge and those applying
it. NCED’s initiatives on Knowledge Transfer, Education, and Diversity cut across the three research IPs, and all together
form a tight nexus that uniquely characterizes NCED’s approach to societally relevant scientific discoveries (See Figure 1).
This section puts the results reported in the main body of this Annual Report in the context of NCED’s overarching scientific
goal and its Strategic and Implementation Plan (SIP). We start by a summary of Program level accomplishments, followed by
community level accomplishments and finish by discussing the Center’s accomplishments in developing NCED’s Legacies.