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Department of Agronomy

Dr. Colby Moorberg

Dr. Colby Moorberg

Associate Professor

Root Ecology and Hydropedology
Email Dr. Moorberg

Kansas State University
2106 Throckmorton Hall
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-7207
Fx: +1-785-532-6094

Biography & Education


Dr. Moorberg grew up on a small family hog farm in northern Iowa. While growing up he was active in FFA and in sports, but it was duck hunting that set him on his career path in soil science. Wading through prairie pothole wetlands while waiting for the sun to rise sparked his academic interest in wetlands. That interest took Dr. Moorberg to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where he would receive his B.S. in Environmental Science.

While attending ISU, soil science soon became his favorite subject. He decided to pursue his soil science and wetland interests as a graduate student in the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. There, his M.S. and Ph.D. research focused on phosphorus dynamics in restored wetland soils in Carolina bay wetlands.

After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Moorberg began a postdoctoral appointment with the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. There his research focused on methane oxidation in the rhizospheres of wetlands plants in Alaskan boreal bogs and fens.

Dr. Moorberg joined the Kansas State University Department of Agronomy in January of 2015. His appointment is primarily teaching. Among other teaching responsibilities, he teaches the introductory soil science course, soil and water conservation, and coaches the K-State Soil Judging Team. He is also an advisor to the Wheat State Agronomy Club. In addition to teaching and advising activities, Dr. Moorberg leads the K-State Hydropedology and Root Ecology Laboratory, which studies the interactions of soil and roots in wetland, riparian, and agricultural ecosystems.

In his free time, Dr. Moorberg enjoys spending time with his family through bicycling, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and homebrewing, as well as cheering on his favorite college sports teams.
  • Ph.D. Soil Science, North Carolina State University, 2014
  • M.S. Soil Science, North Carolina State University, 2010
  • B.S. Environmental Science, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, 2008


Peer-Reviewed Publications
  • Mahler, R.L., M. Krzic, B. Garramon Merkle, C. Moorberg, E.C. Brevik. 2021. Natural sciences education in a COVID-19 world. Nat. Sci. Educ. In Print. doi.org/10.1002/nse2.20067.
  • Moorberg, C.J., S. Howe, K.J. Donnelly, D. Min. 2021. Perceptions of education during COVID-19 among agronomy, soil, and environmental science students. Nat. Sci. Educ. 50(1):e20055 doi.org/10.1002/nse2.20055.
  • Owen, R.K., A. Anderson, A. Bhandari, K. Clark, M. Davis, A. Dere, N. Jelinski, C. Moorberg, K. Osterloh, D. Presley, J. Turk, and R. Young. 2021. Evaluating student attitudes and learning at remote collegiate soil judging events. Nat. Sci. Educ. In Print. doi.org/10.1002/nse2.20065.
  • Rabenhorst, M.C., P.J. Drohan, J.M. Galbraith, C. Moorberg, L. Spokas, M.H. Stolt, J.A. Thompson, J,. Turk, B.L. Vasilas, K.L. Vaughan. 2021. Mn-Coated IRIS to document reducing soil conditions. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. In Print. doi.org/10.1002/saj2.20301.
  • Brevik, E.C., H. Dolliver, S. Edinger‐Marshall, D. Itkin, J. Johnson‐Maynard, C. Moorberg, Y. Sanchez-de Leon, and J. Steffan. 2020. Undergraduate degrees that train students for soil science careers at universities in the USA and its territories. Soil Science Society of America Journal. In Print. doi: 10.1002/saj2.20140.
  • Moorberg C.J. An open annotated bibliography for soil and water conservation: A case study. Nat Sci Educ. 2020; e20014. doi.org/10.1002/nse2.20014.
  • Turner, J., C. Moorberg, A. Wong, K. Shea, M. Waldrop, M. Turetsky, R. Neumann. Getting to the root of plant-mediated methane emissions and oxidation in a thermokarst bog. JGR Biogeosciences. Accepted. doi: 10.1029/2020JG005825.
  • Hansel, F., D. Diaz, A. Rosa, and C. Moorberg. 2019. Phosphorus fertilizer placement and rate affect soybean root growth and nutrient uptake in soil with high fertility. Agronomy Science and Biotechnology 5(1):62. doi:10.33158/ASB.2019v5i1p62.
  • Jelinski, N., C.J. Moorberg, J. Bell, M.D. Ransom. 2019. A survey of introductory soil science courses and curricula in the United States. Nat. Sci. Educ. 48(1):180019. doi:10.4195/nse2018.11.0019.
  • Neumann, R.B., C.J. Moorberg, J.D. Lundquist, J.C. Turner, M.P. Waldrop, et al. 2019. Warming effects of spring rainfall increase methane emissions from thawing permafrost. Geophysical Research Letters. 46(3):1393-1401. doi:10.1029/2018GL081274.
  • Moorberg, C.J. and D.A. Crouse. 2017. An open source laboratory manual for introductory undergraduate soil science courses. Nat. Sci. Educ. 46(1):170013. doi:10.4195/nse2017.06.0013.
  • Moorberg, C. J., M. J. Vepraskas, and C. P. Niewhoener. 2017. Phosphorus dynamics near bald cypress roots in a restored wetland. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 81(6):1652-1660. doi:10.2136/sssaj2017.07.0228.
  • Moorberg, C.J., M.J. Vepraskas, and C.P. Niewoehner. 2014. Phosphorus dissolution in the rhizosphere of bald cypress trees in restored wetland soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 79(1):343-355. doi:10.2136/sssaj2014.07.0304.
  • Adewopo, J.B., R. Bhomia, M. Almaraz, A. Bacon, E. Eggleston, J. Judy, R. Lewis, M. Lusk, B. Miller, C. Moorberg, E. Hodges Snyder, M. Tiedeman, and C. VanZomeren. 2014. Top-ranked priority research questions for soil science in the 21st century. Soil. Sci. Soc. Am. J. 78(2):337-347. doi:10.2136/sssaj2013.07.0291.
  • Moorberg, C.J., M. J. Vepraskas, and C.P. Niewoehner. 2013. Dynamics of P dissolution processes in the matrix and rhizospheres of bald cypress in saturated soil. Geoderma. 202:153-160. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2013.03.017.
  • Moorberg, C., and D. Crouse. 2017. Soils Laboratory Manual, K-State Edition. New Prairie Press, Manhattan, KS.
  • Moorberg, C., editor. 2019. Soil and Water Conservation: An Annotated Bibliography. New Prairie Press, Manhattan, KS.


Dr. Moorberg oversees the K-State Hydropedology and Root Ecology Laboratory. Hydropedology research is focused on the formation of soils under saturated conditions, with applications for wetland delineation, soil mapping, and ecological site descriptions. Root ecology research is focused on soil-root interactions with both agronomic and ecological applications.

Ongoing projects focus on developing automated minirhizotron cameras, developing soil sensors, studying greenhouse gas emissions in wetland and agricultural ecosystems, creating methodology for developing ecological site descriptions for wetlands, and determining the effectiveness of riparian buffer strips.

Students & Researchers