Assistant Professor Position Available

The Department of Soil Science seeks applications for a tenure-track faculty position in soil physics.  Soil physics is a core research area in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and this position is integral to undergraduate and graduate programs in soil and environmental sciences.  This position carries a commitment to the three functions of research, instruction, and outreach, as well as professional and university service as appropriate to faculty rank.  The candidate will explore topics in soil physics research such as:  formation of soil structure in relation to clay, biota, and organic matter; modeling transport of water, energy, solutes, and particulates; soil sensor development; and soil management and resilience.  The candidate should be able to work cross-disciplinary, improving linkages across the food-water-energy nexus.  The teaching component of the position will entail at a minimum an undergraduate/graduate-level course and a graduate-level course.  For a full position announcement and application instructions, go to  To ensure consideration, application must be received by Friday, September 1, 2017.

Assistant Scientist Position

The Nutrient Cycling and Agroecosystems Laboratory, led by Dr. Matt Ruark, is seeking an Assistant Scientist to conduct research in the area of nitrogen and carbon cycling in soils.  UW-Madison is an AA/EEO employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as a protected veteran, and status as a qualified individual with a disability.

See job posting for PVL 91554 Scientist at; application deadline Thursday, August 24, 2017.

Francisco Arriaga Honored

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Board of Directors named Francisco Arriaga (Assistant Professor and Extension Soil Specialist in the UW-Madison Department of Soil Science) as a 2017 recipient of the Society’s Fellow Award.  The 72nd International SWCS Conference took place at the Monona Terrace Sunday, July 30 to Wednesday, August 2.  Francisco was honored at the Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, August 1. The designation of Fellow is conferred on SWCS members who have performed exceptional service in advocating the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources. This award is given for professional excellence, first and foremost. Professional achievement may be in practicing, investigating, administering, or teaching soil and water conservation or closely related fields. The SWCS Awards Committee evaluates and ranks nominees. Recommendations are then presented to the Board of Directors for final approval. No more than one-tenth of 1% of the Society’s membership will be honored each year.  Congratulations, Francisco — an honor well deserved!!!

Agronomy/Soils Field Day


The 2017 Agronomy/Soils Field Day “Cultivating a Resilient Agriculture” will be held on Wednesday, August 30, with registration @ 8 am. UW Risk Management requires all attendees to sign a waiver before they can ride the tour wagons.  Please come early to help facilitate this process.  Tours depart from the Public Events Facility of the Arlington Agricultural Research Station at 8:30 and 10:30 am and 1:45 pm.  Lunch will be provided by the UW-Madison Badger Crops Club (the suggested donation is $5/person).  Lunch/Panel Discussion “What Do We Mean by ‘Resilient’ Agriculture” will be from 12 to 1:45 pm in the Auditorium (1.0 CM). Sponsored by the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences/Arlington Agricultural Research Station/Departments of Agronomy and Soil Science, and UW Cooperative Extension. 5 CEUs will be available. Tours are as follows;

Tour A:  Building Soil Health  {8:30 & 10:30 am}   1.0 SW

  • Soils of Wisconsin (Alfred Hartemink)
  • Importance of perennialization & diversification (Gregg Sanford & Randy Jackson)
  • Do cover crops improve soil health? (Matt Ruark)
  • Trade-offs with soil management decisions (Francisco Arriaga)

Tour B:  Managing Short- & Long-term Risk in Cropping Systems  {8:30 & 10:30 am}   0.5 CM/0.5 PM

  • How many corn hybrids should I grow on my farm?  Minimizing risk & maximizing options (Joe Lauer)
  • Harnessing G x E x M interactions in soybean (Shawn Conley)
  • Weed management over 27 years in the  Wis. Integrated Cropping Systems Trial (Nathan Drewitz & Dave Stoltenberg)
  • Identification, distribution & herbicide resistance of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth (Sam Marquardt & Mark Renz)

Tour C:  Perennial Forages to Accomplish Diverse Goals {10:30 am & 1:45 pm}  1.0 CM

  • Alfalfa:  What have we learned & where are we headed? (Dan Understander)
  • When & where do fungicides pay in forage crops (Damon Smith)
  • Intermediate wheatgrass for forage & grain (Valentin Picasso)
  • Silvopasture: Benefits & challenges of trees in grazing systems (Keefe Keeley, Diane Mayerfeld & Steve Ventura)

Tour D:  Designing Landscapes for Profit, Clean Water, Stable Climate & Biodiversity {10:30 am & 1:45 pm}   1.0 SW  {Will be held in the Auditorium}

  • Yahara 2070: Using scenarios to understand impacts of future watershed land use (Chris Kucharik)
  • SmartScape™: Developing a decision support tool for farmscape management (Claudio Gratton)
  • Biodiversity in the soil:  Exploring how soil microbes influence crops (Thea Whitman)

For more information contact the Dept. of Soil Science at 608-262-0485 or the Dept. of Agronomy at 608-262-1390.





Microbiomes: People and Planet

“Microbiomes: People and the Planet” will feature speakers from UW-Madison and other institutions presenting microbiome-related work in the biological, environmental, and social sciences. The seminar series is open to the campus community, and is also being offered as a special topics class to encourage student participation. For more information about the colloquium and its offering as a special topics class, please follow the link below. .  Each seminar will be followed by a mixer to which all are welcome to partake. Please join us!





Some days ago, we interviewed some undergraduate students for fieldwork positions in the summer. Spring has arrived (well, almost) and we are planning ahead for our projects. We explained the projects to the students and then discussed all the variables, like our new probe sampler, the sampling design, the new instruments that we are using this summer, and of course the weather. It appeared to one of the students that there is lots to be figured out and decisions to be made whilst conducting research – not everything can be planned. The student couldn’t be more right as we are seeking for novelty, trying to explain and understand things a bit better, chasing ideas alongside, whilst keeping our goals and overall progress in close view.

Often, I think our department moves in a similar mode and manner; there are lots of things going on that may appear dispersed but the overall objectives of pushing the frontiers of soil science and doing some of the best teaching and extension is solidly anchored in the commotion of everyday life. We have the good fortune of being supported by a great staff, and an excellent college and university. We have keen undergraduate and graduate students, and a wonderful group of alumni and retired colleagues. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed about departmental activities………………………From Alfred Hartemink

To access the rest of Vol. 8, No. 2 of “Profiles,” log in to MyUW and follow the link.  Watch for future volumes posted on this web site.

Soil Evolution Par for the Golf Course

Want a good read?  Check out <>.  You’ll recognize a few names (some still with the Department of Soil Science and others who have either retired or received their degrees in Soil Science).  Anyway, a good read!  Enjoy!!



Iron- and manganese-cemented layer at the interface of sand and gravel (30-cm depth) on a golf course in Wisconsin. Source: Glen Obear {former research assistant with Doug Soldat}.



Fall Semester 2016-2017, the Department of Soil Science assembled on the steps of Ag Hall for what is hoped to be an annual event. Lots of smiling faces…who wouldn’t smile if you’re a member of a GREAT department at UW-Madison!

Front:  Joel Pedersen, Alfred Hartemink, Jerry Tyler, Rick Wayne (seated), Chee Thao.  Second Row:  Mattie Urrutia, Steve Ventura, Kavya Krishnan, Jenna Grauer-Gray, Terri Busby, Jenifer Yost, Luis  Reyes Rojas.  Third Row:  Nick Balster, Ed Boswell, Shannon Plunkett, Kalyn Dietrich, Zachary Carroll, Dan Capacio, Christy Davidson, Amanda Jensen-Hawks, Ben Henke.  Fourth Row:  Harry Read, Carolyn Betz, Greg Richardson, Laura Adams, Michael Braus, Hans Klopp, Chris Bandura, Nicholas Galleguillos, Keith Schiller.  Fifth Row:  Christina Kranz, Keefe Keeley, Phil Barak, Anna Cates, Dick Cates, Aitor Garcia-Tomillo, Qiyu (Ada) Zhou, Carol Duffy, Donny Vineyard, Matt Ruark, Geoff Siemering.  Last Row:  Sarah Sebrosky, Thea Whitman, Francisco Arriaga, Jim Beaudoin, Laura Ward Good, Joe Wolter, Yakun Zhang, Nick Bero, Troy Humphrey, Dick Wolkowski.  Faculty/Staff Missing:  Todd Andraski, Will Bleam, Julie Garvin, Bill Hickey, Carrie Laboski, Sharon Long, Mark Powell, Doug Soldat, Jaimie West.


Congratulations to a number of Soil Science individuals:  (1) Francisco Arriaga for being selected to receive the 2017 CALS John S. Donald Short Course Teaching Award and being elected for the Rothermel-Bascom Professorship. (2) Laura Ward Good on being selected to receive the 2017 CALS Academic Staff Excellence in Leadership Award. (3) Alfred Hartemink on being named a Douglas D. Sorenson and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor.  Francisco, Laura, and Alfred, along with Thea Whitman (O.N. Allen Professor of Soil Microbiology) will be honored at the CALS Awards Program on Wednesday, May 3 @ 3 pm in the Ebling Auditorium of the Microbial Sciences Bldg.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 3:30 pm, 270 Soils Bldg. {Reception to follow in the Jackson-Tanner Commons}

“Biogeochemistry and Transport of Iron at the Soil Aggregate and Horizon Scale”

By Celine Pallud (Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, Univ. of California-Berkeley


Abstract:   Understanding and predicting the fate and transport of nutrients and contaminants in natural systems is a continuing challenge in soil science. Biogeochemical processes controlling elemental cycling in soils are heterogeneously distributed owing to chemical conditions dictated by the local mineralogical and physical environment. Consequently, the fate of chemicals in soils is dependent on the convoluted coupling of biological, chemical and hydrological processes that vary spatially from the micro- to the macroscale. In structured soils, the aggregate scale (mm to cm) is of particular interest and chemical species distribution can be strongly localized due to mass-transfer limitations and redox gradients within soil aggregates. Iron (hydr)oxides are ubiquitous in soils, playing a dominant role in the geochemistry of surface and subsurface environments. This presentation will discuss the use of flow-through reactors of increasing complexity, to study the coupling of physical, and (bio)geochemical processes affecting iron cycling in soils in order to fill the gap between understanding of well mixed batch systems and observations on very complex natural subsurface systems.

*Made available by the generosity of Leo M.  Walsh and the Leo M. Walsh Distinguished Lectures in Soil Science Fund*