The Environmental Pedology Group focuses on soil forming processes and the importance of soils in ecosystem function and biogeochemical cycles. Our research and teaching program spans a broad range of topics that include: i) organic and inorganic carbon cycling, with a focus on mineral weathering processes and the interaction of organic materials with mineral surfaces; ii) quantifying the interaction of geomorphic and pedogenic processes from pedon to watershed scales and how these interactions control sediment transport, chemical weathering and landscape evolution; iii) energy-based modeling of pedogenesis and ecosystem function; iv) digital soil mapping and soil-landscape classification and use of digital datasets to model the distribution of soil physical and chemical properties; and v) soil development control of soil-water dynamics and ecosystem response to climate change.
(a) Professional Preparation
- UC Davis Environmental and Resource Science, B.S., 1996
- UC Davis Soil Science, Ph.D., 2004
- 2007-present. Acting Director for the Center for Environmental Physics and Mineralogy,University of Arizona
- 2005-present. Asst. Professor of Environmental Pedology, University of Arizona
- 2000-2004. Research/Teaching Assistant, Land, Air, and Water Resources, Department, University of California, Davis
- 1996-2004. Soil Scientist and GIS Specialist, Terra Spase Inc., Napa, CA
Research in the Environmental Pedology Group:
Many of the active research projects in the Environmental Pedology laboratory are collaborative in nature and integrate related, but traditionally separate fields of study such as pedology, microbiology, geomorphology, soil physics, and climatology. One example of such research is a NSF sponsored project (DEB#0543130) examining how variation in soil parent material and the soil mineral assemblage control the stabilization and sequestration of organic carbon in temperate conifer forests. In particular, this project is focused on the role of aluminum as a stabilizing agent via its effects on the soil microbial community, organo-metal complexation, organo-mineral interaction, and soil carbon mean residence time. This project bridges soil chemistry, pedology, and soil microbiology and includes collaborators from the SWES Dept. and Northern Arizona University.
We also have an active project sponsored by the Army Research Office investigating the linkage among environmental energy and mass transfer, pedogenesis, and soil production and soil depth distribution across hillslopes in semiarid ecosystems. The project seeks to couple several theoretical and numerical models describing mineral weathering and sediment transport with high resolution terrain and elevation data from LiDAR imaging to quantitatively predict soil development, physical and chemical weathering, and hillslope diffusivity at pedon to watershed scales.
We also maintain active research collaboration with USDA Natural Resources Conversation Service soil scientists investigating the potential for improving soil survey process and data using digital geographic datasets such as remote sensing, digital elevation models, and geologic data. The current project “Predictive Soil Mapping in Southern Arizona” in particular is a close collaboration and cooperative agreement with the NRCS to provide a predictive soil “pre-map” for a large unmapped area of southern Arizona. We will also be exploring the use of this pre-map to determine a statistically robust sampling design that will enable high resolution spatial interpolation of soil physical and chemical properties.
For the past several years a group of researchers at the University of Arizona have been working closely with a local land owner to better understand and predict the aboveground productivity response of semiarid rangeland to climate variability and climate change. This project couples pedologic data, a physically based numerical model of soil-water dynamics, meterological data and remote sensing time series to quantify how soils modulate the response of these systems to climate forcing.
Finally, the Environmental Pedology Group has recently joined forces with the Environmental and Soil Physics Groups in the SWES Dept. to create the Center for Environmental Physics and Mineralogy (CEPM). CEPM combines state of the art technology in order to provide high quality physical and mineralogical characterization of earth surface and other porous materials. Go to: http://ag.arizona.edu/swes/CEPM/ for more information.
I have taught courses in Soil Genesis, Morphology and Classification, Advanced Soil Genesis, Soil Geomorphology, and Soil and Water Conservation.
See the Environmental Pedology Group website at: http://ag.arizona.edu/swes/rasmussen/index.htm for a complete and update list.