Soil Science

Soil Ecology

The physical setting and dynamics of soil physical processes constrain the magnitude and type of microbial activities and ecological interactions involved in nutrient cycling. Department scientists are interested in the relationships between the physical properties and processes of soil ecosystems, the ecological interactions among soil fauna and microflora, and carbon and nitrogen cycling.

Specific areas of interest include: the influence of soil distribution and dynamics of water-filled pores on grazing of microflora by nematodes and on carbon and nitrogen mineralization; the ability of earthworms to engineer pore structure and thus microbial habitats; the role of leaf litter and landscape position in controlling heat, water, and nitrogen fluxes in riparian forest soil ecosystems; development of strategies for biological control of plant parasitic nematodes; and the quantitative description of the factors that control spatial distribution patterns of nematodes, microbial biomass and activity, nutrient removal processes, and enzyme activity.


Pedology is an integrated approach to studying soil as a collection of natural bodies. These studies examine soils at various scales ranging from microscopic (soil micromorphology) to landscape (soil-landscape relationships). Pedologic studies in the department are focused on solutions to environmental issues and concerns relative to soil-ecosystem quality, wetlands, global climate change, groundwater pollution, and urbanization. Some examples of research include: the genesis of Fe and Mn redoximorphic features in hydric soils; fluxes in carbon sequestration as a result of urbanization and land use change; the role of carbon-related hydromorphic features in riparian denitrification; the fate of heavy metals after saline intrusion of a freshwater coastal ecosystem; the role of Fe-oxide coatings in the bioremediation of hydrocarbons; and the characteristics of shallow subtidal soils.



Professor Emeritus

Department of Natural Resources Science


Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of MESM Program

Department of Natural Resources Science



Department of Natural Resources Science