Mentors

Our mentors provide a wide range of expertise and opportunities in soil science

  • A. Amoozegar   (Crop and Soil Sciences) The Amoozegar group studies the relationships between soil physical properties, soil water movement, and transport of pollutants through the vadose zone-saturated zone continuum by using multiscale laboratory column experiments and field approaches
  • R. Austin   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    The primary focus of Austin’s lab is the use of geospatial technologies to better understand, measure, analyze, and manage spatial variability in both agricultural and environmental settings.
  • O. Baars   (Plant Pathology)
    The Baars Laboratory is interested in the interactions between microbes, primary producers, and the environment via secreted small molecules. Their goal is to reveal biological and chemical mechanisms that impact biogeochemical cycles, crop productivity, and human health.
  • R. Cook   (Forestry and Environmental Resources)
    Cook’s laboratory is interested in improving sustainable forest productivity in managed, plantation systems in the southeastern US and Latin America through a better understanding of forest soils and silvicultural techniques. Silviculture includes any practice that we may utilize to manage site resources (fertilization, vegetation control, planting density, thinning, harvesting methods, etc).
  • M. Cubeta (Plant Pathology)
    The Cubeta laboratory is interested in understanding the ecology and interaction of soil fungi with plants and how soil chemistry and microbial communities influence these interactions to improve plant health.
  • O.W. Duckworth  (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    The soil biogeochemistry laboratory focuses on the interactions between minerals, microbes, and metals in soil and natural waters. Specific emphasis is on elucidating mechanisms of biomineralization and bioweathering by utilizing microscopic, spectroscopic, and molecular biology techniques in conjunction with wet chemical approaches to study these processes at the atomistic to macro-scale.
  • T.W. Gannon   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    Dr. Gannon’s research group investigates various contemporary issues related to pesticide fate and transport. Specific areas of emphasis include pesticide sorption, mobility, degradation, and bioavailability in soil, air, and water. Efforts also focus on organic arsenical pesticide and trace element behavior in managed systems. The overarching goal is to help land managers operate in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • K. Garcia   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    The Garcia laboratory focuses on deciphering the molecular basis of bi-directional nutrient fluxes between plant roots and soil microbes, with a particular emphasis on arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal symbioses. We study these symbiotic associations using physiological, biochemical, molecular, genetic, and transciptomic approaches. Our research contributes to the harnessing of plant-microbe associations to improve nutrient use efficiency and tolerance to global environmental changes in agroecosystems.
  • J. Heitman   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    Heitman’s soil physics laboratory studies the transfer of water, heat, and chemicals through soil via development of new measurement techniques, field experiments, and modeling. Emphasis is placed on water availability in agricultural and natural systems and runoff reduction in urban settings.
  • M.R. Hyman   (Plant and Microbial Biology)
    Hyman’s laboratory focuses on the microorganisms, enzymes, and pathways associated with aerobic biodegradation of diverse organic contaminants, including chlorinated solvents and petrochemcials . These geobiology approaches include physiological studies, chemical analyses, and genome-enabled “omic” analyses.
  • A. Johnson   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    Johnson’s research focuses on nutrient management and its effects on soil and water quality.
  • S. Kulesza   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    Kulesza’s research program focuses on the use of animal manures in the various cropping systems of North Carolina, identifying optimum application rates to maximize crop yield and quality while minimizing the impacts to the environment. From fertilization to toxicity, understanding the effects of manure application on nutrient cycling and soil fertility is important to determine how to effectively utilize these resources.
  • Z. Leggett   (Forestry and Environmental Resources)
    The Legett Laboratory studies soil ecology, nutrient cycling, and sustainability of forest systems. Her research emphasizes renewable energy production systems.
  • R. McLaughlin   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    The McLaughlin group focuses research and training efforts on sediment and erosion control in urban areas in order to protect water quality.
  • B.M. Montoya   (Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering)
    Montoya’s group examines environmental implications and management of coal ash, a byproduct from coal-fired power plants that is often associated with metal contamination. A remediation method that reduces metals leaching into groundwater while improving the cohesive strength of the coal ash can mitigate the risks of spills or groundwater contamination.
  • M. Ricker   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    The Pedology and Land Use Laboratory studies the effects of humans on soil formation and ecosystem services. Our current research projects use stratigraphic approaches to reconstruct historical land use from depositional soils (floodplains/wetlands) and quantify water quality improvement functions provided by riparian zones. We are also investigating the impacts of saltwater intrusion on coastal blue carbon cycling in the Pamlico-Albemarle estuary systems of North Carolina.
  • C. Sayde   (Biological and Agricultural Engineering)
    Sayde’s group is focused on developing and employing advanced models and sensing systems to quantify water and energy movement across the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum.
  • A. Woodley   (Crop and Soil Sciences)
    The sustainable soils group focuses on soil productivity and profitability in sustainable and organic cropping systems. Research initiatives include linking soil health indicators to productive agroecosystems, mitigation of soil greenhouse gas emissions, soil carbon sequestration and nutrient management of inorganic fertilizers, organic amendments and cover crops.