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Geochemical Landscapes

Microbial and geochemical characterization of soils: Regional variation and effects of soil type, geologic setting, and agricultural practices in the Central Valley of California


Task Contact: Martin Goldhaber | Task Objectives | Task Products

This task has been discontinued and replaced with Task 11: Pilot Studies.


Task Objectives

This task focuses on the matrix of variables of relating geology, hydrology, soil type, soil geochemistry, agricultural practice, and microbial ecology in an area that is heavily agricultural. There is a special focus on soil microbiology to extend the existing data from Professor Scow to include additional variables beyond crop type and land use.

Specifically:

  1. What is the spatial geochemical variability in soils formed on the same rock type or different rock type?
  2. What is the comparative impact of agricultural practice (e.g., crop type, fertilizer type, irrigation, tillage) on the geochemistry of soils developed in the same geologic and climatic setting?
  3. Can PCR-based nucleic acid fingerprinting methods be successfully used to characterize soil microbiology in such surveys?
  4. What is the variability of the DNA signature of the soil community and selected pathogens in the soil, both temporally and geographically, in an area otherwise characterized by similar geologic bedrock and soil type? How is the composition related to management practices and crop type? What is the impact of pesticide application on soil microbiology?
  5. What is the variation of the soil DNA fingerprint and pathogen distribution associated with soils formed on different rock types?

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