Gran Paradiso Summer School – Fundamental Processes in Earth System Dynamics – Course 2018

Critical Zone and Ecosystem Dynamics

Grand Hotel, Ceresole Reale (Piedmont, Italy), 10-18 July 2018

The Critical Zone (CZ) is the support system for all terrestrial ecosystems, extending from unweathered rock to the top of any vegetation canopy. In the CZ, physical, biological, geological and hydrological processes interact at multiple temporal and spatial scales, creating complex ecosystem dynamics and providing essential services such as soil water retention, weathering and erosion control, carbon sequestration, and regulation of water, energy and biogeochemical cycles, to name a few. In 2007, the U.S. National Science Foundation funded a set of now nine Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs). In Europe, a small ensemble of CZOs has been established, with strong links to the European Long-Term Ecological Research Network.

This 9-day- long summer course intends to provide basic knowledge about the functioning of the Critical Zone and its relationships with ecosystem dynamics, focusing on aspects related to hydrology, soil geochemistry and weathering, vegetation dynamics and distribution, microbiota, biodiversity, ecosystem processes, CZ-relevant geological processes and the role of the CZ for achieving sustainable development goals. The course will consider in-situ data, long-term ecosystem research, chemical and isotopic laboratory analyses, remote sensing observations and numerical modeling, and it will include three days of field lectures, experimentation and excursions to study sites and CZ observatories in the Italian Alps.

The course is intended for Doctoral students, post-docs and researchers who are working or intend to work on Critical Zone processes and ecosystem dynamics. Lectures will be held in the Grand Hotel of Ceresole Reale in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy.

Practical information:

Gran Paradiso Summer school: “Critical Zone and Ecosystem Dynamics”

Dates: July 10th – 18 2018



Location: Grand Hotel – Ceresole Reale – Gran Paradiso National Park, Piemonte, Italy

Directors: Timothy White, Pennsylvania State University, USA – Antonello Provenzale , Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, CNR, Pisa, Italy.

Organisation: Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources – Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the Italian National Research Council, in collaboration with the Gran Paradiso National Park.

Participants will be lodged in the Grand Hotel and other close hotels in Ceresole. Transportation will be arranged from Torino to the school and back on July 9th and on July 19th respectively.

The school has no registration fee. The cost of full board lodging (including all meals) for 10 nights, from July 9th evening to July 19th 2018 will be announced here soon.

Deadline for applications is May 15th, 2018.

If you need more information, please contact the Scientific Secretary at