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2013

NEW paper: The Joy of Teaching Soil Science
December 20, 2013
Hartemink, Alfred E., Megan R. Balks, Zueng-Sang Chen, Patrick Drohan, Damien J. Field, Pavel Krasilnikov, David J. Lowe et al. The fundamental purposes of teaching are to impart knowledge, insight, and inspiration. Around the world, university teaching principles are changing as students also gain knowledge and inspiration in ways other than in the class room. Likewise, the soil science discipline is evolving as there is a new set of tools and techniques available by which we investigate soils, and the foci are shifting toward other disciplines and changing research questions. In many universities, the teaching of undergraduate soil science increasingly takes place to non-soil science majors. All these forces require some thinking about how we teach the subject and here we present some of our experiences and ideas of teaching soil science in different parts of the world. Some 15 examples are presented from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, Taiwan, The Netherlands, and the USA. As the research is widening so is our teaching. The examples are diverse and, despite cultural and personal differences, they show several trends. The cases represent vibrant and creative ways to teach soils, and the initial focus is to create a sense of wonder about the soil and its utilitarian and scientific value.
PhD student Lauren Vitko wins 1st in SSSA poster contest
December 9, 2013
PhD student Lauren Vitko took 1st place in the Pedology Division graduate student poster contest. Lauren presented her thesis research, Soil and Topographic Influences On Spatiotemporal Patterns of Saturated Zones, at the SSSA/ASA/CSSA annual meeting in Tampa, FL.
New video promo spot for the "Dig It" soil's exhibit featuring Dr. Drohan
December 4, 2013
"Dig It" was a 4,000-square foot exhibition on soil in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History from July 18, 2008 through Jan. 10, 2010. It is now traveling around the country.
Cody Fink successfully defended his thesis!
December 4, 2013
Master's student Cody Fink successfully defended his thesis entitled: Dynamic soil property change in response to natural gas development in Pennsylvania.
Coastal marshes, North Dakota oil and gas, and rattlesnakes to boot...summer of 2013 was busy!
August 28, 2013
During summer of 2013 a lot happened in the Penn State Soil Characterization Lab. We visited 5 different states for research projects, sampled a couple of hundred soils, and managed to take a break for a swim in the Atlantic ocean.
New article in the JSWC: Forecasting runoff from Pennsylvania landscapes
May 20, 2013
A.R. Buda, P.J.A. Kleinman, G.W. Feyereisen, D.A. Miller, P.G. Knight, P.J. Drohan and R.B. Bryant.... Abstract: Identifying sites prone to surface runoff has been a cornerstone of conservation and nutrient management programs, relying upon site assessment tools that support strategic, as opposed to operational, decision making. We sought to develop simple, empirical models to represent two highly different mechanisms of surface runoff generation—saturation excess runoff and infiltration excess runoff—using variables available from short-term weather forecasts. Logistic regression models were developed from runoff monitoring studies in Pennsylvania, fitting saturation excess runoff potential to rainfall depth, rainfall intensity, and soil moisture, and infiltration excess runoff potential to rainfall depth and intensity. Testing of the models in daily hindcasting mode over periods of time and at sites separate from where they were developed confirmed a high degree of skill, with Brier Skill Scores ranging from 0.61 to 0.65 and Gilbert Skill Scores ranging from 0.39 to 0.59. These skill scores are as good as models used in weather forecasting. Results point to the capability to forecast site-specific surface runoff potential for diverse soil conditions, with advances in weather forecasting likely to further improve the predictive ability of runoff models of this type.
Dr. Drohan featured in SSSA article on Soil Scientists Embracing the "Age of Humans"
May 16, 2013
Contemplating humanity's impact at the global scale of the geosciences can blow your mind, but maybe for the best. See this month's feature article of Soil Horizons, "Pedology Key to Understanding Our Changing Earth in the ‘Age of Humans’".
New paper out on using LIDAR to make surface roughness calculations.
April 11, 2013
Brubaker, K.M., Meyers, W.L., Drohan, P.J., Miller, D.A., and E.W. Boyer. 2013. The use of LIDAR terrain data in characterizing surface roughness and microtopography. Applied and Environmental Soil Science. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/891534
Dr. Drohan to present on shale-gas research at the Univ. of Vermont 3/29
March 19, 2013
Dr. Drohan will be discussing his research with Drs. Brittingham and Mortensen on shale gas landscape disturbance in the north central Appalachians.
Dr. Drohan presents March 11th to the Centre County Natural Gas Task Force
March 19, 2013
This talk focused on what we know to date about changing ecosystems and how monitoring is helping us answer questions about shale-gas disturbance in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Drohan presented at OSU Feb. 13th on baseline monitoring of shale-gas disturbance
March 19, 2013
The event brought together industry, academia, and energy think thanks from across Ohio and the Appalachian region.
Lauren Vitko and Mike Marsicano place at SSSA Annual Meeting Grad Student Competition
February 1, 2013
Lauren Vitko and Mike Marsicano placed 3rd in the poster and scientific talk sections at 2012 SSSA Annual Meeting Grad Student Competition (pedology division).
Dr. Drohan to Present on Fracking and Landscape Effects at the Yale Climate & Energy Institute
January 14, 2013