Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 457–468 | Cite as

Hydroclimatological data and analyses from a headwaters region of Mongolia as boundary objects in interdisciplinary climate change research

  • N. B. H. Venable
Research Article


Collaborative work on increasingly complex hydroclimatic investigations often crosses disciplinary boundaries. Elements of scientific inquiry, such as data or the results of analyses can become objectified, or capable of being adopted and/or adapted by users from multiple disciplinary realms. These objects often provide a bridge for collaborative endeavors, or are used as tools by individuals pursuing multi-disciplinary work. Boundary object terminology was first formalized and applied by social scientists. However, few examples of the application of this useful framework are found in the hydrologic literature. The construct is applied here to identify and discuss how common research products and processes are used both internally and externally through providing examples from a project examining the historical and paleo proxy-based hydroclimatology of a headwaters region of Mongolia. The boundary object concept is valuable to consider when conducting and critiquing basic research, collaborating across multiple disciplinary teams as when studying climate change issues, as an individual researcher working in a cross boundary sense using methods from differing disciplines to answer questions, and/or when one group adapts the work of another to their own research problems or interpretive needs, as occurred with selected products of this project.


Mongolia boundary objects climate change hydroclimate 


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The author would like to thank Dr. Gelegpil Adyabadam and her colleagues from the Mongolian Research and Information Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology, and Environment for providing access to the Mongolian hydroclimate data used in the original analyses. Thanks are also extended to four anonymous reviewers and the associate editor, whose comments and suggestions facilitated substantial improvements to this document. Partial support for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Program (Award BCS-1011801 entitled Does Community- Based Rangeland Ecosystem Management Increase Coupled Systems' Resilience to Climate Change in Mongolia?, PI Dr. Maria Fernandez-Gimenez) and by the American Center for Mongolian Studies US-Mongolia Field Research Fellowship Program.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESS-Watershed ScienceColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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