The Graduate Group in Soils and Biogeochemistry, hosted in the Land, Air and Water Resources Department, offers programs of study and research leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Soils and Biogeochemistry focuses on the study of physical, chemical and biological processes in the diverse soils of a variety of landforms and ecosystems. The goal is to understand the complex processes of mass and energy flow that control agricultural and natural ecosystem functions, productivity and sustainability. Research projects also explore impacts and implications of both natural and anthropogenic activities—notably climate change, land use change and pollution—on soil at different scales, from the plot to ecosystems, landscapes, regions and the planet.
Topics of study include: mechanisms and monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions; pesticide and trace element adsorption on surfaces; mineral weathering; fate and transport of native and applied chemicals; soil microbial ecology; soil carbon sequestration; nutrient uptake and management; nutrient cycling through managed and wildland ecosystems; organic agriculture; above and below-ground biodiversity; soil erosion; conservation; ecosystem productivity and sustainability; role of soil in ecosystem services; and the study of soil evolution on the landscape. These studies are carried out within a framework of integrating the chemical, physical, and biological sciences that constitute the study of soils and biogeochemistry and often reflect a rich history of collaborating with . The Soils and Biogeochemistry program at UC Davis offers a unique opportunity to investigate soils throughout the diverse regions of California, in the US, and globally in a number of international projects. Studies target agricultural, forest and grassland, coastal, wetland and urban ecosystems.
Our group encourages interactions, interdisciplinary work, and group activities outside of class and students' primary research emphasis, such as our two annual field trips and opportunities to be involved in Engineers Without Borders (currently in Uganda and Bolivia), Environmentors (working with high school students), as well as multiple outreach activities around climate change, ecosystem services, and other topics.