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Donald McGahan

McGahan, Donald
Donald McGahan
Associate Professor
Stephenville, Texas

Specialty:Pedology, Soil Morphology, & Environmental Biochemistry

Research. Interested in identifying systematic variation in soil morphology and soil genesis using relationships with climate, vegetation and biological organisms, geomorphology, and geology. As a soil morphologist I utilize multiple low and high technology tools to investigate soil and soil mineralogical alterations brought about by the soil forming factors. Mineralogical alterations are the primary cause of many important values we measure in soils. By studying the alteration of minerals and considering the evolution of soils (a very slowly renewable resource), relationships vital to addressing landscape scale issues are better understood. This knowledge of soil “in the environment” and “of the environment” is applicable to site-specific soil management(s) including both land use for agricultural, and land use for non-agricultural soils and soil uses. Furthermore, I operate under the premise that understanding soil is also vital to conservation of many other natural resources such as water and air.


Teaching. Courses at the undergraduate level are (i) designed to educate students in soils as an ecosystem and soils function in the larger ecosystem (Introductory Soil Survey Courses), (ii) introduce principles of soil formation, how the morphology of soils is communicated, how the morphologic descriptions are used for communication about processes and capabilities of soils (Soil Genesis, Morphology, and Classification) for a broad spectrum of uses and environmental impacts. My graduate offerings provide an in-depth understanding of biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, losses, additions, and transformations of elements, organic matter (organic carbon), and minerals that impact the genesis and alteration of soil impacting soil health, soil quality, and the environment at large.