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Project Information

Project Information

Exploring a Dynamic Soil Information System: A Workshop

Project Scope:

An ad hoc planning committee appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will organize a workshop to examine how soil resources nationally might be dynamically and accurately monitored toward the mutually supporting goals of a) achieving a better understanding of causal influences on observed changes in soil and interactions of soil cycling of nutrients and gases with earth processes, and b) providing accessible, useful, and actionable information to land managers and others.  To explore the requirements of a dynamic soil monitoring and reporting system, workshop discussions will be organized around several topics, including:

  • defining appropriate, measurable indicators of chemical, physical, and biological soil properties;
  • available technologies and methods for timely and cost-effective soil data collection;
  • conceptual and practical considerations for soil data storage and data curation; and
  • tools to deliver information at different scales of resolution to meet the needs of a diversity of land managers, from producers to state and federal scientists and policymakers. 

The high-level focus of the workshop reflects several of the science and technology priorities identified in the 2016 Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science and addresses information gaps noted by the 2015 FAO Status of the World Soils report with respect to information about changes in soil resources and characteristics over time in North America (and particularly in the United States). International participation in the workshop will be sought to bring a perspective on the potential to integrate soil information globally.

A proceedings of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.


Status: Current


RSO: Schoen, Robin

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Bruno Basso - (Chair)
Dr. Bruno Basso is a University Foundation Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences,
and W.K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. He is an internationally recognized
agroecosystem scientist and leader in developing geospatial soil-plant-landscape modeling systems with
primary research focused on the impact of the interactions between soil, plants, climate and management on
water and nutrient fluxes and crop yields at different spatial and temporal scales. His recent research integrates
AI and big-data analytics from different sensors with crop models to understand dynamic changes in soil
properties, nutrient losses, and long-term sustainability of agricultural systems. He is a Fellow of the American
Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America and the recipient of several awards given by scientific
societies and the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Faculty Award at Michigan State University and 2016 MSU
Innovation of the Year Award for Precision Agricultural Systems Analysis Software. He obtained his Ph.D. from
Michigan State University.
Ranveer Chandra
Ranveer Chandra is the Chief Scientist at Microsoft Azure Global and Partner Researcher at Microsoft
Research. Dr. Chandra started the FarmBeats project at Microsoft in 2015, which aims to enable data-driven
farming by getting data from the farm to the cloud in conditions with no power or Internet connectivity by using
low-cost sensors, drones, and vision and machine learning algorithms. He also leads the battery
research project and the white space networking project at Microsoft Research. He has been invited to present
his research on FarmBeats to the Secretary of Agriculture, and TV White Spaces to the FCC Chairman. Dr.
Chandra has published over 90 research papers and has over 100 patents that have been granted by the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office. He has won several awards, including the MIT Technology Review’s Top
Innovators Under 35. Dr. Chandra has a Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University.
Alison Marklein
Alison Marklein is a quantitative biogeochemist who focuses on the effects of soil chemistry, climate change,
and agricultural management on soil carbon storage and plant growth. Her past research has focused on how
interactions between nitrogen and phosphorus affect terrestrial carbon sequestration and the dynamics of plants
and microbes. She is currently a project scientist at the University of California, Riverside, and previously
worked as a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California, Davis, and the
University of Montana. She received her B.A. in computational biology from Cornell University in 2008 and her
Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, in 2014. In addition to her research, Dr. Marklein is a
science advisor in The ClimateMusic Project, an organization that translates climate data into music to inspire
action and hope. Dr. Marklein also works on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice in science as a member of
the leadership board of 500 Women Scientists.
Charles W. Rice
Dr. Charles W. Rice is a University Distinguished Professor of soil microbiology in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University. He conducts long-term research on soil organic dynamics, nitrogen transformations and microbial ecology. Recently, his research has focused on soil and global climate change including carbon and nitrogen emissions in agricultural and grassland ecosystems and soil carbon sequestration and its potential benefits to the ecosystem. Dr. Rice has also served in numerous capacities with the Soil Science Society of America. He currently is chair of the National Academies’ Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources and has previously served on the National Academies’ U.S. National Soil Science Committee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. Internationally, he served on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to author the Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007, and was among the scientists recognized when that work won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Dr. Rice holds a B.S. degree from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. He joined the Kansas State faculty in 1988, becoming associate professor in 1993 and professor in 1998.
James M. Tiedje
Dr. James Tiedje is University Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences and is Director of the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. His research focuses on microbial ecology, physiology and diversity, especially regarding the nitrogen cycle, biodegradation of environmental pollutants and use of molecular methods to understand microbial community structure and function. His group has discovered several microbes that biodegrade chlorinated pollutants and is using genomics to better understand microbial functions in their environment. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Editor of Microbial and Molecular Biology Reviews. He has over 500 refereed publications, including seven in Science and Nature. He shared the 1992 Finley Prize from UNESCO for research contributions in microbiology of international significance, is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Soil Science Society of America, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as president of the American Society for Microbiology and the International Society for Microbial Ecology. He received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University.

Kathe Todd-Brown
Dr. Kathe Todd-Brown, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, is a computational biogeochemist who
uses mathematics and computers to understand how soil breathes. By using data from multiple worldwide
studies and simplifying or expanding the complexity of soil models to interoperate that data, she strives to give
society a better understanding of this critical climate response. She is passionate about data and open
reproducible science. Through her work with the International Soil Carbon Network, she is working with
collaborators across the globe to address harmonization issues in soils. She has been a postdoctoral fellow
(2019) with Drs. Jennifer Baltzer (Wilfred Laurier University) and Merriett Turetsky (Guelph University), a
Distinguished Linus Pauling Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a postdoctoral
research fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory in Richland, Washington (2015-2018), and a
postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oklahoma (2014). She received her Ph.D. (2013) from the
University of California, Irvine, from the Earth System Science Department. She holds a Bachelor of Science
(2004) from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, in mathematics and has worked as a software
developer for bioinformatics tools at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Rodrigo Vargas
Rodrigo Vargas is an Associate Professor at the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. He spent over 2 years working as an Assistant Professor at CICESE, a top national research center in Ensenada, Mexico. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside, and a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests focus on how biophysical factors regulate carbon and water dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems. He studies soil–plant–atmosphere interactions to understand and quantify the response of terrestrial ecosystems to management, extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes), and global change. His research spans from soil ecology to micrometeorological measurements of water and carbon fluxes at multiple spatio-temporal scales and vegetation types. He is a member of the U.S. national committee for soil sciences of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.



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