FRONTIERS IN SOIL SCIENCE RESEARCH

REPORT OF A WORKSHOP

Steering Committee for Frontiers in Soil Science Research

Board on International Scientific Organizations

Policy and Global Affairs

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
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FRONTIERS IN SOIL SCIENCE RESEARCH R EPOR T OF A WORKSHOP Steering Committee for Frontiers in Soil Science Research Board on International Scientific Organizations Policy and Global Affairs

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this workshop was provided by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0506228; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service under Agreement No. 59-0790-5-085; the Department of Energy under Grant No. DE- FG02-05ER64014; and the Soil Science Society of America. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-13891-8 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-13891-4 Cover: Design by Francesca Moghari. Photo credits, from top to bottom: first by Ron Nichols and second and third by Lynn Betts, courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; fourth, courtesy of SLAC Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light- source (SSRL); and fifth, courtesy of PhotoDisc. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a man- date that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Na- tional Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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STEERINg COMMITTEE FOR FRONTIERS IN SOIL SCIENCE RESEARCH CHARLES W. RICE, Chair, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas PAUL M. BERTSCH, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky JOHAN BOUMA, Wageningen University [Retired], Rhenen, Netherlands JENNIFER HARDEN, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California JERRY L. HATFIELD, U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Ames, Iowa JULIE D. JASTROW, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois WILLIAM A. JURY, University of California, Riverside, California JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona NRC Staff LOIS E. PETERSON, Senior Program Officer P. KOFI KPIKPITSE, Program Associate MARIZA SILVA, Program Associate (until February 2006) v

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Preface and Acknowledgments A s stated in Science, “Soils are the most complicated biomaterials on the planet” (Young and Crawford, 20041). Soils provide support for both natural and human systems. A challenge for soil science is the need for interdisciplinary research involving classical soil science subdisciplines, namely, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil biology, soil mineralogy, and pe- dology. While basic research provides an understanding of fundamental soil processes, increasing trends in land transformations, environmental challenges, and policy issues require interdisciplinary approaches. To suc- cessfully address major research needs, soil scientists must collaborate with each other and with scientists in related disciplines. In December 2005 the National Academies convened a workshop, Frontiers in Soil Science Research, of experts in soil science and associated disciplines to identify emerging research opportunities and expected ad- vances in soil science, particularly in the integration of biological, geologi- cal, chemical, and information technology sciences. The three objectives of the workshop were to 1. identify research priorities and potential breakthroughs within soil science; 2. identify interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research opportu- Young, I. M., and Crawford, J.W. 2004. Interactions and self-organisation in the soil- 1 microbe complex. Science 304:1634-1637. vii

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viii PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS nities in which soil science is involved, particularly in the field of biogeosci- ence; and 3. identify technological and computational needs to advance soil science. More than 120 people attended the workshop, with attendees from all around the United States as well as from countries such as New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Philippines, Germany, and the United King- dom. The attendees came from several fields, including not only academia but also government and industry. The workshop agenda is included as Ap- pendix A of this report. Funding for this workshop came from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, and the Soil Science Society of America. The committee would like to thank the speakers and discussants who gave enlightening presentations and comments, providing a basis for the plenary discussions and breakout groups held during the workshop. The speakers and discussants are listed in Appendix B of this report. One of the exciting aspects of the workshop was the inclusion of a select few graduate students, who not only served as rapporteurs of the breakout sessions but also presented posters of their own research on the second evening of the workshop. Those graduate students, with their affiliations at the time of the workshop, were as follows: Amy Brock, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Daniel Clune, Cornell University Josh Heitman, Iowa State University DeAnn Ricks Presley, Kansas State University Matt Ruark, Purdue University As chair, I would also like to thank the members of the workshop steer- ing committee (listed in Appendix C) and the National Research Council staff who organized the workshop and assisted with the writing of this summary: P. Kofi Kpikpitse, Lois Peterson, and Mariza Silva. We would also like to express thanks to Ester Sztein for her assistance in the comple- tion of this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with pro- cedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee.

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ix PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Sally Brown, University of Washington; Martin Carter, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Oliver Chadwick, University of California, Santa Barbara; Jon Chorover, University of Arizona; Brent Clothier, Horticultural and Food Research Institute, New Zealand; and Wayne Hudnall, Texas Tech University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors and the institution. Charles W. Rice Chair, Steering Committee for Frontiers in Soil Science Research

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Contents 1 Introduction 1 2 Placing a Value on Soil Science Research 8 3 Summary of Presentations 13 Session 1: Using Tracers to Understand Soil Processes, 13 Session 2: Using Microscopic and Spectroscopic Techniques to Elucidate Chemical Processes, 16 Session 3: Nature’s Greatest Biological Frontier—the Soil Community, 18 Session 4: Effect of In Situ Soil Architecture on Soil Physical, Chemical, and Biological Processes, 21 Summary of the First Day’s Discussion, 22 Session 5: Upscaling to a Regional Level, 23 Session 6: New Tools for In Situ and Laboratory Measurements, 25 Session 7: Key Indicators for Detecting the Resilience and Stability of the Soil System, 26 4 The Frontiers in Soil Science Research 31 Overarching Challenges, 31 Research Needs and Opportunities, 33 Tools, Techniques, and Current Opportunities, 38 xi

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xii CONTENTS Interdisciplinary Collaborations and Emerging Research Opportunities, 40 Student and Training Issues, 43 Epilogue 45 Appendixes A Workshop Agenda 49 B Speakers and Discussants 54 C Steering Committee Members 66