The Department of Soil Science faculty is involved in teaching, research and extension. They provide expertise in the following specialized areas:
- soil health
- environmental soil science
- soil genesis, morphology and classification
- soil fertility, fertilizers and plant nutrition
- soil chemistry
- soil physics and hydrology
- soil management and conservation
- agricultural meteorology and climatology
Our Soil Science Department, in reality, is the Soil, Water and Atmospheric Sciences Department. Our faculty are actively engaged in teaching and research in all of these areas.
Dr. David Hopkins is in the Soil Classification and Genesis Division of the department. He is the instructor for our Soil Genesis (Soil 444/644) course and Advanced Soil Genisis (Soil 784). Dr. Hopkins also works with Range Science to improve our understanding of how soil properties control the distribution of native plant communities.
Dr. Frank Casey, Dr. Tom DeSutter and Dr. Larry Cihacek are our Environmental Soil Scientists. Dr. DeSutter teaches our Soils and Land Use course (Soil 410/610) and Environmental Field Instrumentation and Sampling course (Soil 721). Dr. DeSutter studies application of industrial by-products to soils; fate and transport of manure-borne hormones in swine production facilities, distribution of mercury in surface and subsurface soils, instrumentation for measuring soil physical and biological parameters; and soil salinity and sodicity. Dr. Casey teaces Soils and Pollution (Soil 480/680). Dr. Casey studies transport of nutrients and pesticides and how to prevent pollution. Dr. Cihacek studies in situ reactions of nutrients and potential pollutants and their interaction with soil organic matter. Dr. Cihacek teaches our Soil Fertility and Fertilzers course (Soil 322), Soil and Plant Analysis (465/665) and Soil Chemistry (Soil 755).
Dr. R. Jay Goos teaches the Introduction to Soil Science course (Soil 210). Dr. Goos studies fertilizer activity and plant growth.
Dr. Amitava Chatterjee teaches Soil Ecology (Soil 321). Dr. Chatterjeet studies soil fertility in sugarbeet-based crop production system, greenhouse gas emissions, tillage and soil carbon sequestration, soil biogeochemical processes and nutrient cycling, and microbial community structure
Dr. Adnan Akyuz is the State Climatologist for North Dakota. He teaches Soil 217 – Introduction to Meteorology and Climatology and Soil 447/647 - Microclimatology.
Mr. Daryl Ritchison serves as Interim Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network, (NDAWN) which consists of 66 weather stations that monitor weather conditions continuously and provides hourly and daily summaries.
Dr. Dave Franzen, Extension Soil Scientist, assists in teaching a course he helped initiate, ASM 454/654, Principles of Site-Specific Farming. The course is led by John Nowsatzki of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. He also guests lectures in Dr. Burton Johnson’s PS 225 - “Principles of Crop Production” course in the Plant Sciences Department.
Dr. Abbey Wick, Extension Soil Health Specialist, is involved in the development of a series of “train the trainer” workshops on soil health. These workshops focus on providing current information and training on high priority soil issues in the state of North Dakota, including but not limited to salinity, sodicity, and biology.
Dr. Caley Gasch will begin teaching Soil Ecology (Soil 321) in the fall of 2017 and will develop a graduate-level course on soil biological nutrient cycling for the spring of 2018. Dr. Gasch studies soil ecology in response to different land management practices, plant-soil relationships, spatial and temporal patterns of soil properties, and methods for monitoring soil health.
Dr. Aaron Daigh teaches Soil Physics (SOIL 433/633) and Advanced Soil Physics (SOIL 763). Dr. Daigh studies soil physics with applications to soil and water management. Specific topic areas include subsurface drainage, soil tillage, and soil salinity.