The biggest change to NCED structure resulting from the new SIP is the organization of the research into three “Integrated
Projects” (IPs): Desktop Watersheds, Stream Restoration, and Subsurface Architecture. The intellectual foundation of the
IPs was provided by NCED research since its inception. The restructuring resulted in a major improvement in integration
among disciplines and PIs, as documented below. Highlights of new collaborations include: (a) major efforts involving
the Minnesota and Berkeley groups on coupling geomorphology and nutrient dynamics and on understanding variability
of bedload grain size and ﬂ ux along channels and channel networks; (b) a growing effort between the Minnesota and
Princeton groups on quantifying the spatial properties of deltaic channel networks and how these can be used to predict
statistics of subsurface deposits; and (c) an accelerated transfer of theoretical results to practical application related to stream
A major research highlight of this year was publication of a major review (and cover) article in the Jan. 26, 2006 issue
of Nature, by Bill Dietrich and Taylor Perron. It would be hard to think of a clearer expression of NCED’s emphasis on
combining biological and physical processes in shaping the Earth’s surface than this study of the topographic signature of
life. Examining a wide range of topographic indicators from the form of mountain ridges to river planforms, the article
concludes that, beyond direct organic constructions such as termite mounds, there is no single unambiguous biotic indicator
in the Earth’s topography. Rather, the topographic signature of life is to shift the frequency of biologically inﬂ uenced
features such as meandering river channels. The question of how life imprints itself on topography is a fundamental research
question but also has important implications for detection of life on other planets. In addition, a group of PIs (Paola et al.,
2006) provided a ﬁ rst statement of NCED’s vision for integrative surface science in a special issue of Water Resources
Research organized by our sister center CUAHSI.
National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics Annual Progress Reports
National Science Foundation (NSF)
NCED 2006 Annual Report.
National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.