Specialty：Nutrients in Soil and Water in human dominated ecosystems
Research. My research focuses on carbon and nutrient dynamics in urban and rural soil, runoff and surface water. I am a PI on the Scotts Company/Texas A & M (24 plot) runoff research facility where I have examined runoff carbon and nutrient concentrations and exports from warm-season turfgrass under fertilization, wetting agent and deficit irrigation treatments. Other work has investigated extractable soil nutrients in Texas and Ghana under tillage and cropping treatments; and iron and zinc for sorghum in Mali. The investigation of carbon and nutrients released from decomposing mammals (mainly humans) with a view to estimating post-mortem interval is a relatively new field; decomposing mammals introduce another source of carbon and nutrients into the soil environment which is under researched. To expand soil science in forensics, soil has been used in training of human remains detection dogs in terms of odor and texture. An expansion of this forensic research is the development of use of UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy with statistical models for trace soil evidence for a) determining percent similarity of soils and b) post-mortem interval prediction.
Teaching. I am currently responsible for teaching (or co-teaching) Watersheds and Water Quality Management (SCSC 458/658), Soil, Plant Water Relations (SCSC 309) each Spring. My Fall classes include Forensic Science (SCSC/FIVS 401) and the team taught graduate level course in Analysis of Environmental Systems (SCSC 618).
SCSC 309. Water in Soils and Plants. (3-2). Credit 4. Fundamentals of plant water use, and water movement and storage in soils; evapotranspiration, plant water requirements and irrigation scheduling; issues impacting irrigation and water quality; techniques for measuring soil and plant water relations. Prerequisite: Junior or senior classification, or approval of instructor.
Team Taught with Dr. James Heilman and Dr. Kevin McInnes
FIVS/SCSC 401. Forensic Soil Science. (3-0). Credit 3. Soil and geologic characteristics associated with crime scene examination; physical and chemical characteristics; use of trace evidence, glass and amorphous materials, fossils; fourier and fractal analysis; x-ray tomography and laser profilometry; soil and geologic isotope composition. Prerequisite: Junior or senior classification or approval of instructor.
SCSC 458/658. Watershed and Water Quality Management. (3-0). Credit 3. Land use impact on surface and ground water chemistry; legislation impacting water quality; surface and groundwater impairment and restoration. Prerequisite: CHEM 101 or equivalent or approval of instructor; junior or senior classification.
SCSC 423/623. Natural Resources and Agricultural Sustainability in UK. (3-0). Credit 3. Environmental impacts and sustainability of United Kingdom and U.S. agriculture compared; soil, water, crop, and environmental management; conservation of watersheds; production of hydropower; sustainable use of water resources; cultural immersion. Prerequisites: Junior or senior classification and approval of instructor.
SCSC/FIVS 491. Undergraduate Research Variable credits depending on hours committed to project (1-4). Past students have: examined urban pond chemistry and microbiology, extracted soils from urban, agricultural and body farm ecosystems and examined land use and management effects on soil chemistry. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior classification, initial meeting with professor to craft a research project, production of a project proposal. Students will present their research at Student Research Week in the form of a poster.
SCSC 618. Analysis of Environmental Systems. (1-2). Credit 2. Classical and contemporary methods for analyzing chemical components of environmental systems, soil, water, plants and gases; environmental chemistry coupled with experiential. Prerequisite: Graduate Classification. Team Taught withDr. A Schwab, Dr. S Murray and Dr. Katherine Carson