The research activities of the Department of Soil and Water Sciences are driven by basic scientific questions regarding the natural and agricultural environments. Building on thorough studies, in-depth understanding and creativity we aim to propose agricultural and environmental solutions for the 21st century.
The soil is a three-phase body composed of colloidal mineral and organic matter, bordering the atmosphere, supporting plant growth. Therefore, our research explores the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, from the point of view of Soil Physics and Soil Chemistry.
Soil physics and hydrology is the study of soil physical, hydraulic and thermal properties and processes in soil, addressing the dynamics of physical soil components in all phases (solid, liquid, and gas). This field draws upon and integrates the principles of physics, physical chemistry, engineering, fluid dynamics, and meteorology, when applied to the groundwater, vadose zone, land surface and atmospheric interface. Some specific areas that are represented in the Soil Physics and Hydrology include physical properties and processes of soils, water movement and retention, irrigation, soil structure and aggregation, solute transport, spatial variability of properties and processes, evapotranspiration, and mathematical modeling of water and solute transport.
Soil chemistry deals with the chemical composition, chemical properties, and chemical reactions of soils, including the chemical interactions between all soil components: nutrients, minerals, water, organic matter and gas. Chemical reactions between the soil solids and the soil solution influence both plant growth and water quality. Beginning in the 1970s and certainly in the 1990s, as concerns increased about inorganic and organic contaminants in water and soil and their impact on plant, animal, and human health, the emphasis of soil chemistry is now on environmental soil chemistry. More specifically, we address the treatment, quality and impact of reclaimed water used for irrigation.