and Water Resources
Land, Air, and Water Resources
The Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
(LAWR) was created in 1975 when the Departments of Soils and Plant
Nutrition and Water Science and Engineering merged with the Atmospheric
Science program in the Department of Agricultural Engineering to
promote interdisciplinary coordination and integration in teaching
and research. In 1990 LAWR faculty voted to subdivide into sections
of Atmospheric Science, Hydrology, and Soils and Biogeochemistry,
each led by a departmental vice chair. All three sections have a
long history on the Davis campus. The multidisciplinary department
focuses on the solution of complex local, national, and international
agricultural and environmental problems.
During the late 1930s, climatology was the first course work offered
in Atmospheric Science. Initial research focused on frost protection
of citrus and other fruit and nut crops, and a single individual,
H. Schultz, conducted the program. The modern Atmospheric Science
major was first offered in the mid-1960s when Kinsell Coulson, Leonard Myrup,
and John Carroll joined the faculty. The graduate program in Atmospheric
Science was initiated in 1972 and, in 1975, the core part of the
program moved into Hoagland Hall.
The Atmospheric Science faculty conduct diverse
teaching, research, and outreach programs that can be applied to
important environmental issues. Early research included studies
of radiative transfer and boundary layer meteorology. Modern remote
sensing techniques rely in part on the early research of Coulson.
More recent research on agricultural burning has resulted in residue
handling and field burning techniques that have greatly reduced
Current sectional research is focused on climate
dynamics and climate change, air quality, atmospheric chemistry,
biometeorology, and medium and large-scale atmospheric dynamics.
Recent acquisition of an instrumented aircraft has enhanced studies
of pollutant transport to remote areas.
Since 1890, the University of California has operated
a climate station through a cooperative agreement with what is now
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The
station, originally located on the main campus, has been situated
in an experimental field 1 kilometer west of the main campus since
The hydrology program began in the summer of 1900 when UC President
Benjamin I. Wheeler invited Elwood Mead, head of USDA's irrigation
investigations, to organize teaching and research on irrigation.
In the 1920s members of the Division of Irrigation at Davis helped
develop the California Water Plan, and a second California Irrigation
map (1922). Frank Adams helped write water rights legislation. The
Division became the Department of Irrigation in 1936, with a faculty
of ten under the leadership of Frank Veihmeyer.
In 1962 irrigation faculty with engineering degrees
received split appointments in either the Department of Civil Engineering
or the Department of Agricultural Engineering in the newly established
College of Engineering. In 1965 the department was renamed the Department
of Water Science and Engineering to reflect its broadening scope.
Over the years faculty research and teaching have
made outstanding contributions to the efficient development and
utilization of water. Veihmeyer's cutting edge research helped establish
the departmental tradition of contributing to the basic understanding
of soil-plant-water relations. With Arthur Hendrickson (Pomology),
he established the now widely accepted concept of "field capacity,"
and the more controversial but also universally recognized concept
of permanent wilting percentage. Jamie Amorocho's hydraulic testing
of structural models played an important role in the construction
of conveyance and storage structures under the California Water
Project. William Pruitt designed and built the largest weighing
lysimeter in the world to develop basic understanding of water use
by crops. His widely translated, coauthored book on crop water requirements
for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations
(UN), serves as a universal reference.
In 1990 a campuswide graduate program in Hydrologic
Sciences was approved. The core curriculum includes courses that
cut across disciplines and form the basis for specialization in
areas such as groundwater contaminant transport, regional evaporation,
hydrobiology, and hydrogeochemistry. In addition to these areas,
the current program also emphasizes teaching and research in watershed
hydrology, water management, and irrigation and drainage.
Soils and Biogeochemistry
The Soils and Biogeochemistry program traces its roots to a summer
field course taught at the University Farm circa 1912 through the
Division of Soil Technology at Berkeley. The Division of Soil Technology
established at Davis in 1921 was renamed the Division of Soils in
1941 and restructured as the Department of Soils in 1952 when Davis's
College of Agriculture was established. In 1955 the department merged
with the Department of Plant Nutrition at Berkeley to form the Soils
and Plant Nutrition Department, with faculty at both Berkeley and
Davis. The Davis faculty occupied a portion of the newly completed
Hoagland Hall. Eight years later the Kearney Foundation of Soil
Science was relocated from Berkeley to join the department. The
Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition at Davis was completely
separated from the Berkeley department in 1964.
Soils and Plant Nutrition faculty have continued
to contribute to basic and applied research on soils and soil-plant
relations, as well as the mineral nutrition of plants in the context
of irrigated agriculture. Perry Stout, with D. Arnon, discovered
that molybdenum is an essential plant nutrient in 1938. Stout was
also involved in the 1954 discovery that chloride is essential for
plant growth. Reisenauer and Delwiche discovered the essential nature
of cobalt for the growth of Rhizobia and the function of the legume-Rhizobia
symbiosis, so crucial to the development of sustainable farming
systems using nitrogen fixation by legumes as an N source. Emanuel
Epstein established the fact that plants accumulate ions by two
different mechanisms, and later demonstrated how calcium benefits
plants exposed to high salinity.
Faculty hired to compensate for the large turnover
between 1984 and 1991 helped to diversify the traditional program.
New positions in mycorrhizal physiology and ecology, microbiology
and bioremediation, geochemistry, and rhizosphere expanded departmental
research directions. Currently the program covers agricultural and
environmental issues ranging from global carbon dioxide sequestration
to ion interactions on mineral surfaces. Program faculty are well
known nationally and internationally, and many serve on the editorial
boards of major journals. source
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There is no history currently available
for this department.