Soils & Biogeochemistry

Soil Science and Biogeochemistry is the study of physical, chemical and biological processes that occur in and define the soil characteristics. Soil scientists and biogeochemists study complex processes of mass and energy flow that control agricultural and natural ecosystem functions, productivity and sustainability. These studies assess the impacts and implications of natural processes and anthropogenic effects on soil and ecosystem behavior and development.

Contemporary Soil Science and Biogeochemistry includes studies of: pesticide and trace element adsorption on surfaces; mineral weathering; fate and transport of native and applied chemicals; soil microbial ecology; nutrient uptake and management; nutrient cycling through managed and wildland ecosystems bioavailability of toxics; soil erosion; conservation; ecosystem productivity and sustainability; and the study of soil evolution on the landscape. These studies are carried out within a framework of integrating applied physical, mathematical, and biological sciences.

The Graduate Group in Soils and Biogeochemistry offers programs of study and research leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Soil Science focuses on the physical and biological processes that govern the quality and distribution of soils in relation to landform evolution, geochemical environments, and organism habitats. Research in soil science includes the study of soil as a global natural resource, as a critical component of the environment, and as a resource to sustain agricultural and wildland ecosystems.

For more info regarding the program and admission requirements, please contact Shila Ruiz, Graduate Program Coordinator, at

Graduate Group Chair. Toby O'Geen, 530-752-1265,

Graduate Advisors. Amelie Gaudin (, Kate Scow (, Majdi Abou Najm (; Toby O’Geen (