Thea Whitman in Nature Communications!

Whitman2Our new soil ecologist just published a paper in Nature Communications, entitled “A dual-isotope approach to allow conclusive partitioning between three sources.” The paper describes a new technique to separate one biogeochemical pool (e.g., total soil CO2 emissions) into its three different sources (e.g., roots, soil organic carbon, and plant litter). The approach uses just two stable isotopes, expanding the range of possible questions and making it a powerful tool to help advance our understanding of element cycling in complex systems. Go to


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2015 Soil, Water & Nutrient Management Area Meetings

The Department of Soil Science, in conjunction with University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension will host eight Soil, Water, & Nutrient Management Meetings around the state, starting December 1 through December 10. The purpose of these meetings is to provide research updates in the field of soil fertility, nutrient management, soil and water conservation, and water quality.

Discussion topics will include: Importance of K for crop production in Wisconsin; Wheat N management research update; Starter fertilizer and high yield management impacts on corn production; Wisconsin soil nutrient testing level trends and summary from 2010 to 2014; Nitrogen credits from green manures; Grass covers after corn tillage; Cover crops in soybean production systems; Tillage, soil organic matter, and nutrient stratification; Soil and tillage management medley; Nutrient management update: Farm-land preservation and SnapPlus15

Speakers include Wis. DATCP staff and Matt Ruark, Robert Florence, Francisco Arriaga, and Carrie Laboski from UW-Madison Department of Soil Science as well as County Agent presentations from each county.

The following CEUs for Certified Crop Advisers have been requested:  2 CEUs in soil & water management and 2 CEUs in nutrient management.

Each meeting will begin at 10:00 am and end at 3:00 pm. A $40.00 registration fee (which includes lunch) will be charged for the meeting. Noon meal reservations should be made with the host agent.  The information packet will contain PowerPoint summaries of talks and other useful reference materials.

Organizers request participants to pre-register with the host agent at least 1 week before the meeting they wish to attend.

The schedule for the 2015 Soil, Water, & Nutrient Management Meetings is:

Tues., Dec. 1, Fitchburg, contact Heidi Johnson,

Wed., Dec. 2, Eau Claire, contact Mark Hagedorn, 715-839-4712

Thurs., Dec. 3, Sparta, contact Bill Halfman, 608-269-8722

Fri., Dec. 4, Marshfield, contact Ken Cleveland, 608-339-4237

Mon., Dec. 7, Juneau, contact Deb Struve, 920-386-3790

Tues., Dec. 8, Kiel, contact Mike Ballweg, 920-459-5904

Wed., Dec. 9, Cecil, contact Jamie Patton, 715-526-6136

Thurs., Dec. 10, Dodgeville, contact Gene Schriefer, 608-930-9850

CONTACT:   Francisco Arriaga,, 608-263-3913

325 Field Trip

_DSC6917 (2)As part of the Soil Science 325 course, a group Antigo silt loam state soilof soil science students went on a three-day field trip and visited the Antigo silt loam – the State Soil of Wisconsin! The Antigo silt loam was selected to represent the more than 550 different soils in Wisconsin thanks in no small part to the efforts of Francis Hole. The field trip was supported by the FD Hole Endowment.   {L to R, bottom to top:  Kavya Krishnan, Jacob Kruse, Luis Reyes Rojas, Nicholas Galleguillos Katz, Jenifer Yost, Kyle Kazmierczak, Galen Bergquist, David Ritter, Elizabeth McNamee, Professor Alfred Hartemink, Kristin Witkowski}.

Recent Publications from the Hickey Lab


The Hickey Lab announces two recent publications:  Relations of microbiome characteristics to edaphic properties of tropical soils from Trinidad,” Frontiers Microbiology:


“Complete genome sequence of the phenanthrene-degrading soil bacterium Delftia acidovorans Cs1-4,” Standards in Genomic Science:

Joel Pedersen Part of $20 Million NSF Grant

Pedersen photo 20150213 v3Department faculty member, Joel Pedersen [], is part of the leadership team for a new 5-year, $20 million multi-institutional grant from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology [go to for UW-Mad news story]. Joel’s contributions will focus on impacts of nanomaterials living things. His group will explore the fates and transport of nanoparticles in the environment, and how they interact with membranes of living organisms. Congratulations to Joel and the rest of the UW-Madison team on this tremendous achievement!

Announcing the Jackson-Tanner Commons Project

Soil-King Observatory DriveThe Jackson-Tanner Commons Project is an effort by the Department of Soil Science to provide a new academic workspace where students, staff, and faculty members can interact informally in a relaxed and pleasing environment. Named after our first two faculty members to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Marion Jackson and Champ Tanner, the Jackson-Tanner Commons will be housed in Room 360 of the Soils Building. For more information or to donate to the effort, please see the Jackson-Tanner Commons webpage under Alumni & Friends.

Upcoming Events

2015 Agronomy/Soils Field Day will be held on Wednesday, August 19. This field day, hosted by the Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science in conjunction with the Arlington Agricultural Research Station, will highlight UW-Madison research on crop production and soil management. See the flyer here: Agronomy Field Day

The Wisconsin Farm Technology Days will be held Tuesday, August 25 to Thursday, August 27, in Sun Prairie, WI. This is the largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation. The three-day outdoor event showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, including many practical applications of recent research findings and technological developments. Dane County Farm Technology Days Brochure