Southern Regional Cooperative
Soil Survey Conference:

Innovative Technologies for the New Soil Survey

July 14-17, 2008 l Gainesville, FL


Featured Keynote Speaker

Willie Harris, Professor
Soil Genesis and Mineralogy
University of Florida Soil and Water Science Department

Willie Harris began his soil career at Virginia Tech, where he obtained a degree in agronomy and ultimately a Ph.D. in soil mineralogy in 1984. He worked in the interim between those degrees with the state health department, Virginia Soil Survey Program (Virginia Tech employee), and the Virginia Tech Soil Mineralogy lab. He joined the faculty of the University of Florida Soil and Water Science Department (then, Soil Science Department) in the Fall of 1984, specializing in soil genesis and mineralogy. His appointment has been 70-80% research and 20-30% teaching. He has taught courses in pedology, soil mineralogy, and soil judging, and co-taught a course in Hydric Soils.

Willie has conducted mineralogical and pedological research on weathering processes, mineral distributions as related to weathering and soil genesis, linkage between podzolization and soil hydrology in Spodosols of the SE USA, paragenesis of naturally-phosphatic soils, and irreversible dehydration of hydroxy-interlayered vermiculite. Recent research activities have emphasized applied environmental issues involving phosphorus, including leaching risk for sandy karst soils and the long-term stability of phosphate in dairy-manure-impacted sandy soils. In addition, he has worked collaboratively on research pertaining to (i) phosphorus sorption by drinking water treatment residuals, (ii) lead transformations in contaminated soils, (iii) efficacy and consequence of protocols to stabilize lead using phosphates, (iv) fluidized-bed recovery of phosphate from flushed dairy manure, (v) mineralogical nature of Okeechobee sediment as it relates to turbidity, and (vi) forms of particulate phosphorus in water moving from the Everglades agricultural area.

Willie’s initial ideas and insights about coastal plain soil genetic processes stemmed from his access to abundant, well-organized Florida soil characterization, the product of a vibrant soil survey program that was underway when he came to the state. He made use of the data and the archived soil horizon samples to test ideas. Hence, he is indebted to the soil professionals who contributed to the program.



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