Image of Dr. Zion Klos

Contact Information

Academic School

School of Science


Donnelly 104E



(920) 883-8617


Dr. Zion Klos

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science


Zion Klos hiking outdoors

As an environmental Earth scientist, I focus on integrating the physical, ecological, and social sciences, often through the lens of issues surrounding water and climate. Before Marist, I was based at the University of California, Santa Barbara while pursuing research focused on the overlap of ecohydrology, geology, and land management in mountain systems. This work stemmed from doctoral research at the University of Idaho focused on the interaction of water, ecology, and society in the western US, Costa Rica, and the Eastern Seaboard (via a year on a sailboat). There I specialized in physical hydrology and climate science, but was also part of a unique, team-based Ph.D. focused on using a psychological lens to communicate and evaluate how changes in climate were impacting decision-making in resource-dependent communities.

My foundational interests in physical sciences stem from my undergraduate major in geology at Colorado College. There I fostered another major personal interest in outdoor leadership. At Marist, I bring these same types of transformative outdoor-based, project-focused research and course experiences to my students to help them better understand the natural world and its integration with society, both locally and globally.


University of California, Santa Barbara
Postdoctoral Researcher, Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory
Bren School of Environmental Science and Management & Sierra Nevada Research Institute

PhD, Environmental Science in Hydrology, University of Idaho,
NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Earth Sciences Division, Hydrologic Sciences
Social-Ecological Resilience NSF-IGERT Member, Climate Science Communication Team

BA, Geology, magna cum laude, with Thesis Distinction, Colorado College,
Outstanding Student Award in Geology, Class of 2009

Research Interests / Areas of Focus

My research interests emerge from the collaborative pursuit of integrated basic and applied questions, often completed through mentored undergraduate student projects at the overlap of hydrologic, geologic, ecologic, and human systems. I also work with my undergraduate student mentees to pursue and learn best practices in community-level, two-way science communication that informs and shares new research in an effort to better inform environmental decision making in the Hudson River Valley and beyond. I also conduct research on techniques in teaching and mentorship to advance collective understanding on how we can best foster the next generation of critical thinkers that not only have a strong base of knowledge in the sciences, but also have the skills to learn and communicate new information independently or collaboratively as they work to solve fundamental questions facing society and our environment. I am constantly seeking to expand creative, interdisciplinary, student-centered research avenues and experiential pedagogies that explore complex systems using project-based learning, integrative problem solving, and thinking across disciplines.

Selected Publications

Klos, P. Z., Holtsnider, L. M. (2018). Visual Environmental Communication: Art-Science Collaboration in a Liberal Arts Setting. In the Trenches [National Association of Geoscience Teachers], 8:3, 4-6.

Klos, P. Z., Goulden, M., Riebe, C. S., Tague, C., O’Geen, A. T., Flinchum, B. A., Safeeq, M., Conklin, M. H., Hart, S. C., Berhe, A. A., Hartsough, P. C., Holbrook, S., Bales, R. C. (2018). Subsurface plant-accessible water in mountain ecosystems with a Mediterranean climate. WIREs Water [Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water], 2018;e1277, doi:10.1002/wat2.1277

Klos, P. Z., Link, T. (2018). Quantifying shortwave and longwave radiation inputs to headwater streams under differing canopy structuresForest Ecology and Management, 407, 116-124, doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2017.10.046

McLaughlin, B., Ackerly, D., Klos, P. Z., Natali, J., Dawson, T. E., Thompson, S. (2017). Hydrologic refugia, plants, and climate changeGlobal Change Biology, 23, doi:10.1111/gcb.13629

Niemeyer, R., Heinse, R., Link, T., Seyfried, M., Klos, P. Z., Nielson, T., Williams, C. J. (2017). Spatiotemporal soil and saprolite moisture dynamics across a semi-arid woody plant gradientJournal of Hydrology, 544, 21-35, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.11.005

Harpold, A., Kaplan, M., Klos, P. Z., Link, T., McNamara, J., Rajagopal, S., Schumer, R., and Steele, C. (2017). Rain or snow: Hydrologic processes, observations, prediction, and research needs. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21, 1-22, doi:10.5194/hess-21-1-2017

Bosque-Pérez, N. A., Klos, P. Z., Force, J. E., Waits, L. P., Cleary, K., Rhoades, P., Galbraith, S. A., Brymer, A. L. B., O’Rourke, M., Eigenbrode, S. D., Finegan, B., Wulfhorst, J. D., Sibelet, N., Holbrook, J. D. (2016). A pedagogical model for team-based interdisciplinary doctoral educationBioscience. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biw042.

Blades, J., Klos, P. Z., Kemp, K., Tinkham, W., Hall, T. E., Force, J. E., Morgan, P. (2016). Forest managers’ response to climate change science: Evaluating the constructs of boundary objects and organizationsForest Ecology and Management, 360: 376–387. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.07.020.

Klos, P. Z., Abatzoglou, J., Bean, A., Blades, J., Clark, M. A., Dodd, M., Hall, T., Haruch, A., Higuera, P., Holbrook, J. D., Jansen, V. S., Kemp, K., Lankford, A., Link, T., Magney, T., Meddens, A. J. H., Mitchell, L., Moore, B., Morgan, P., Newingham, B. A., Niemeyer, R., Soderquist, B., Suazo, A.A., Vierling, K.T., Walden, V., Walsh, C. (2015). Indicators of climate change in Idaho: An assessment framework for coupling biophysical change and social perception. Weather, Climate, and Society [Journal of the American Meteorological Society], 7(3): 238-254. doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-13-00070.1.

Kemp, K., Blades, J., Klos, P. Z., Tinkham, W., Hall, T. E., Force, J. E., Morgan, P. (2015). Managing for climate change on federal lands of the western U.S.: Perceived usefulness of climate science, effectiveness of adaptation strategies, and barriers to implementation. Ecology and Society, 20(2): 17. doi: 10.5751/ES-07522-200217.

Klos, P. Z., Rosenberry, D. O., Nelson, G. R. (2015). Influence of hyporheic exchange, substrate distribution, and other physically-linked hydrogeomorphic characteristics on abundance of freshwater musselsEcohydrology, 8(7): 1284–1291, doi:10.1002/eco.1581.

Klos, P. Z., Chain-Guadarrama, A., Link, T., Finegan, B., Vierling, L., Chazdon, R. (2014). Throughfall heterogeneity in tropical forested landscapes as a focal mechanism for deep percolationJournal of Hydrology, 519, 2180-2188. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.10.004.

Klos, P. Z., Link, T., Abatzoglou, J. (2014). Extent of the rain-snow transition zone in the western U.S. under historic and projected climate. Geophysical Research Letters [Eos Research Spotlight, GRL Featured Article and cover photo] 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL060500.

Fremier, A.K., DeClerck, F., Bosque-Pérez, N., Estrada Carmona, N., Hill, R., Joyal, T., Keesecker, L., Klos, P. Z.,Martínez-Salinas, R., Niemeyer, Sanfiorenzo, A., Welsh, K., Wulfhorst, J.D. (2013). Understanding Spatiotemporal Lags in Ecosystem Services to Improve Incentives. Bioscience 63: 472-482, doi:10.1525/bio.2013.63.6.9.

Klos, P. Z., Blades, J., Kemp, J., Bosque-Perez, N., Force, J.E., Hall, T., Morgan, P. (2013). Problem-finding in the education of interdisciplinary team scientistsIntegrative Pathways 35: 3.

Rosenberry, D. O., Klos, P. Z., & Neal, A. (2012). In-situ quantification of spatial and temporal variability of hyporheic exchange in static and mobile gravel-bed rivers. Hydrological Processes, 26(4): 604–612 doi:10.1002/hyp.8154.

Klos, P. Z., Siddoway, C. S., Langridge, R. (2009). The Ruataniwha Fault: Neotectonic evaluation and seismic hazardGNS Science, New Zealand and Colorado College Geology Department.

Black, W. G., Klos, P. Z., Reddy, C., Smith, M. & Stacy, R. (2005). Whispers of Faith: Young Friends share their experiences of QuakerismQuaker Press, USA & Quaker Books, UK.

Creative Work

Holtsnider, L. M., Klos, P. Z. (2016). Climate Odyssey. Artist book, interactive online map, and additional educational materials.

Selected Presentations

Klos, Z. (2014, October). No snow and low flow: Impacts of a climatic snow-to-rain transition on forest ecosystems. Invited speaker, International Union of Forest Research Organizations World Congress, Salt Lake City, UT.

Klos, Z. (2014, April). Idaho’s changing weather: Understanding how the global affects the local. Invited speaker, Idaho Climate Talks Series, Boise, ID.

Klos, Z., O’Rourke, M. (2013, November). A heated discussion: Integrating the arts and humanities into climate change communication. Presenter and discussion facilitator at the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Annual Meeting, Miami University, Oxford, OH.

Awards and Honors

University of Idaho, Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Doctoral Division, 2016

University of Idaho, Doctoral Student of the Year Award, Environmental Science Program, 2016

University of Idaho, Alumni Award for Excellence, 2015

National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellow, Earth Sciences Division, 2010

Colorado College, Magna cum laude, Class of 2009

Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists – Colorado College, Outstanding Student Award, 2009

Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration, Environmental Division Award, 2009

Colorado College Presidential Scholarship for Excellence in Community Involvement, 2008

Media Links

USA Today / The Desert Sun, online article, “Losing Snow in a Changing Climate” published online on April 14, 2016.

Grist Magazine, online article, “Grist 50: The 50 People You'll Be Talking About in 2016” published online on January 20, 2016.

The Climate CIRCulator, Climate Impacts Research Consortium newsletter article, “Climate Change in Idaho: Impacts and Perception” published online November 10, 2015.

Post Falls Press, newspaper article, “Snowshoes and science: Mountain becomes classroom on water quantity for Post Falls student” published in print and online on January 29, 2015.

Eos, Research Spotlight, Transactions American Geophysical Union,“Rain projected to dominate western U.S. precipitation” published in Vol. 95, No. 44, November 4, 2014.

The Climate CIRCulator, Climate Impacts Research Consortium newsletter article, “Snowpack in Western Mountains to Shrink Over Time” published online September 16, 2014.

Wired Magazine, online article, “Science Graphic of the Week: Map Shows Western U.S. May Suffer Huge Reductions in Snow” published online on August 14, 2014.

Conservation Magazine, online article, “Western snowpack could plummet this century” published online on June 26, 2014.

Pacific Standard Magazine, online article, “Snow-Covered Mountains Will Become Waterfalls” published online on June 25, 2014.

The Idaho Statesman, newspaper article, “Climate detectives to speak” published in print and online on April 7, 2014.

The Idaho Statesman, online article, “Idaho scientists lay out their data on how our climate has changed” published online on April 2, 2014.

The Pre-Cambrian Basement, Colorado College Geology Department 2013 Alumni Newsletter, “Almuni Spotlight: Zion Klos,” published in print and online.

The Idaho Statesman, newspaper article, “Catching up on climate change in Idaho,” published in print and online on November 16, 2012.

The Missoulian, newspaper article, “Scientists at Missoula climate workshop relate changes to forest users,” published in print and online on November 10, 2012.