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Soil Ecology Lab News

  • July 2022: Thais Boni's field study found that amending an exposed and degraded sub-soil with aquatic macrophytes and sugar cane bagasse leads to a decrease in exchangeable aluminum concentration, which is a limiting factor for the establishment of vegetation. Check out the paper in PlosOne.

  • June 2022:

    • Deisy Garcia was selected by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to join the Forest Service (USDA) on an internship at the Deschutes National Forest. Congratulations Deisy! We wish you a productive summer!

    • Samantha Colunga was selected to participate on the  Expanding the Critical Zone Research Network Workshop at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. Her participation is fully sponsored by the program through an NSF grant.

    • Dr. Pereira was named a E. Kika De La Garza Fellow by the USDA. Dr. Pereira will spend 2 weeks in July meeting leaders from different USDA agencies in Washington, DC, and visiting the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Survey Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Check out News Release here.

  • May 2022:

    • Congratulations to our Spring 2022 graduates: Angel Salinas graduated with a B.Sc in Environmental Sciences, Armida Rivera and Gladys de la Rosa graduated with a Masters in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Well done!! Check out our commemorative photo here.

    • Congratulations to Paola Granados (Dr. Kang's lab) and co-authors on a recent publication on biochar for lead removal from aqueous solution. Check out the paper here.

  • April 2022: We were recently awarded a Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates grant from the USDA NIFA. Through “Pathways to NRCS and Academic Careers to Civil Engineering and Agriculture Students” (PANACEAS), we will prepare future soil and agriculture scientists and civil engineers in future careers in agriculture-related professions. To learn more about it, click here and here.

  • Mar 2022: Dr. Engil Pereira and Dr. Wendi Williams hosted a session on "Geosciences Education: Advancing Concepts and Inclusion" at the 2022 South-Central Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America. Click here to check out the full program.

  • Feb 2022: Our lab attended the Soil Survey & Land Resource Virtual Workshop hosted by Texas A&M University. Dr. Pereira and Samanta Colunga presented results from their C sequestration studies. It was a great opportunity to hear updates from the Cooperative Soil Survey Groups and colleagues from other universities.  

  • Jan 2022:

    • Congratulations to Rafaela Conz for publishing the second chapter of her dissertation. The paper reveals the main soil fertility management practices employed by smallholder farmers in Manhiça, Moçambique. Check it out here.

    • On Jan 16th, our lab was at the International Museum of Arts and Science (IMAS) offering visitors hands on activities to learn about soils during the Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, an exhibition created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C. We had a great time talking to visitors about the topic we love the most. Special thanks to Samantha Colunga and Lilly Elliott for their amazing and super engaging presentations!

  • Nov 2021 - The UTRGV College of Science hosted its Annual Research Conference and our lab did an amazing job showcasing the research we have done over the past year. Here is the list of lab presenters:

    • Angel Salinas: Implementing Organic Fertilization Practices and Magnetic Water to Improve Aloe Vera Growth and Soil Health in the Rio Grande Valley.

    • Armida Rivera: Revealing the Effects of Climate Change and Fungicides on Soil Microbial Communities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

    • Diobenhi Castellanos: Measuring Microbial Activity of Sweet Potato Crop in the Lower Rio Grande Valley

    • Gladys de la Rosa: Measuring nitrate loss in the form of leaching in different soil types and nitrogen fertilizers

    • Samantha Colunga: Carbon Sequestration in Sandy Soils of Arid and Semi-Arid Climates ***Samantha won the best oral presentation award at the Undergraduate category! Great job, Samantha!

  • Sept 2021 - Congratulations to Isaiah Jaramillo for starting a position as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA NRCS in Fredericksburg, TX. Way to go Isaiah! Isaiah was also recently featured in the UTRGV's Profile in Excellence, Check it out here.

  • Aug 2021

    • Congratulations to Angel Salinas for receiving the National Organization of Professional Hispanic NRCS Employees (NOPHNRCSE) Scholarship. We are very proud of you!

    • Aug 2021 - Congratulations to Dr. Cheng & team for the recently awarded NSF GEOPATHS grant. This project will promote research and education in geosciences to our local students. More information will come soon. Dr. Pereira is a proud co-PI. 

  • Jul 2021

    • Congratulations to Samantha Colunga for the great job presenting the summer work she did at Brown University under the Leadership Alliance program. Her presentation took place at the Leadership Alliance Virtual National Symposium 2021.

    • Dr. Pereira and Dr. Paty Feria are editors for a Special Issue in "Sustainability, Climate Change, and Ecology: Challenges and Opportunities" for the Journal Sustainability. Click here for more information. 

  • Jun 2021 - Nora Gallarotti (Co-advised by Dr. Pereira) published her master's research about N2O fluxes from tropical forest soils in the ISME Journal. Link for paper here.

  • Mar 2021

    • Gladys de la Rosa passed her proposal defense. Her committee was composed of Drs. Pereira, Cheng, and Kang. Congratulations, Gladys!

    • Yvette Garcia, former Research Assistant and Engaged Scholar in our lab, started a full-time research position at the Pebble Labs in Los Alamos, New Mexico 

  • Feb 2021

    • Armida Rivera passed her proposal defense. Her committee was composed of Drs. Pereira, Feria, and Choudhury. Congratulations, Armida!

    • Isaiah Jaramillo passed his proposal defense. His committee was composed of Drs. Pereira, Cheng, and Kang. Congratulations, Isaiah!

  • Jan 2021 - Rafaela has the 1st chapter of her dissertation published. Good job Rafa! Link for paper here.

  • Dec 2020 - Undergraduate students Josabeth and Jahdiel have their paper published. Congratulations! Check it out here.