Setting the Tune: Exploring Soils Inspires New Song

From Fort Bragg to the Mojave Desert – a group of UC Davis students spent part of their summer analyzing the soils of California ecosystems. For graduate student Yuanxin Ji, the experience inspired him to craft a heartfelt song with lyrics about the intricate world of soils set to a catchy tune.

Biocrust Mapping Project Wins Creativity-Innovation Award

Xiaoli Dong is putting biological soil crust on the climate change research map, a project for which she received UC Davis’ single Early Career Faculty Award for Creativity and Innovation for 2023.

The university gives one or two of the $40,000 awards annually, funded by an endowment set up by anonymous donors.

UC Davis Team Competes in Regional Soil Judging Contest

A team of UC Davis doctoral and undergraduate students have something to celebrate as the fall quarter comes to a close. UC Davis sent a team to the Region 6 (southwest) Collegiate Soil Judging Competition, where groups are scored on their ability to describe and classify soils and landscapes.

FFAR Grant to Help Improve Vineyard Soil Health

Wine grapes are susceptible to subtle changes in temperature and precipitation, making them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

Regenerative agriculture, which uses holistic farming and grazing practices to strengthen soil health and crop productivity, may help grape vines become more resilient to changing climate conditions. However, more research is needed to increase adoption of regenerative agriculture practices on vineyards. 

The Virus Hunter

Plant pathologist digs into a little-known actor in the soil microbiome

Joanne Emerson is a virus hunter. She has tracked viruses in a hypersaline lake in Australia, analyzed viral communities in the thawing permafrost of Sweden and contributed to studies of oceanic viruses that infect marine microorganisms.

Compost Key to Sequestering Carbon in the Soil

Study Dug Deep to Uncover Which Agricultural Systems Store the Most Carbon

By moving beyond the surface level and literally digging deep, scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that compost is a key to storing carbon in semi-arid cropland soils, a strategy for offsetting CO2 emissions.

Building a Better Fertilizer

Rylie Ellison receives Van Alfen/MacDonald Graduate Student Support Fund Award

Rylie Ellison is the 2019 recipient of the Neal Van Alfen and James MacDonald Graduate Student Support Fund Award for her research and leadership on treating animal waste to improve its potential for use as a fertilizer in agriculture.

Maximizing Use of Water Stored in Soil Could Result in Savings for Farmers

Study Finds a Climate-Smart Strategy for California Agriculture

As California faces more frequent and severe droughts, agriculture, which relies on irrigation from surface water and groundwater, could become expensive and unsustainable. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, looked at using a “free” resource — rain water stored in the soil — and found that optimizing its use could go a long way to help meet demand for five California perennial crops. Their findings appear in the journal Environmental Research Letters.