the UC History Digital Archives

the UC History Digital Archives

Search the Davis collection
Home > General History > The Ten Campuses > Davis >


About UC Davis
:: Historical Overview
:: Administrative Officers

Academic Units
:: Colleges and Schools
:: Academic Departments
:: Graduate Division
:: Institutes and Research Centers
:: Summer Sessions

Student Life
:: Student Housing
:: Student Government
:: Student Publications
:: Student Services
:: Traditions

Libraries and the Arts
:: Cultural Programs
:: Libraries

Additional Resources
:: Related Links
:: Bibliography

:: Sources

print-friendly format

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 

Land, Air, and Water Resources
Landscape Architecture
Landscape Horticulture

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.

Atmospheric Science
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 smoke production.

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 1964.

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

to top

Landscape Architecture
See Environmental Design -- Landscape Architecture.

to top

Landscape Horticulture
See Environmental Horticulture.

to top

See Colleges and Schools, School of Law.

to top

There is no history currently available for this department.

to top

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 

the UC History Digital Archives

Copyright © 1999-2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 06/18/04.