During my time at Biosphere2, while working with Dr. Steve DeLong, I learned the skills for and gained an interest in the monitoring and quantification of surface processes. In addition to working on the Landscape Evolution Observatory (Pangle et al. [including Murphy], 2015), I helped establish field sites across Arizona, California, and Mexico, where we deployed environmental monitoring networks and conducted repeat high-resolution lidar scanning to document the evolution of actively eroding landscapes. In addition to monitoring arroyos, badlands, and earthflows, this fiedwork also represented the start of my interest and experience in post-wildfire erosion (DeLong et al. [including Murphy], 2018).
If established locally, these types of projects can often be conducted with minimal investment in terms of equipment and travel. Further, the aims of the research can frequently be conducted in line with the interests of local management agencies and in collaboration across other disciplines, such as ecology. In addition to providing opportunities for field labs and student projects, establishing local monitoring sites can help improve our understanding of surface processes and predictions of landscape response to natural and human-driven perturbations.