The goal of the Soil Microbial Agroecology Lab (SMAL) is to study ways to improve soil quality and understand the biological and geochemical processes and interactions within different soil types and different environments.
The soil microbiology team conducts research on:
- Carbon and nitrogen analysis in different land use;
- Carbon and nitrogen mineralization;
- Factors affecting soil fungi and soil bacteria populations;
- Mycorrhizae population dynamics;
- Effect of tillage, nutrients, and cropping systems on soil microbial populations;
- Soil aggregate formation and stability;
- Soil water infiltration capability;
- Phospholipid fatty acids and neutral lipid fatty acids in soil organic matter;
- Soil enzyme activity;
- Stable isotope 13C and 15N analysis.
The program is led by Dr. Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor and co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Rice's research has been supported by more than $15 million in grants from the USDA, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and others. He has advised more than 30 graduate students and has more than 100 publications.