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Innovation and Improvement for In Situ Physical and Chemical of Soil Properties


Quantification and analysis of the physical and chemical properties of the soil are particularly difficult due to the inherent spatial and temporal variability of soils. Current methods require soils to be extracted from the field and transported to a laboratory setting for investigation that could result in artifacts in data analysis (Reference 2, 3, 4, 19 and 20). A number of recent advances have resulted in technologies that provide improved understanding of soil characteristics, many which are minimally destructive. Examples of these technologies include miniature-self contained soil moisture probes, temperature probes, soil nutrient exchange resins, and soil reactivity biotapes. To improve our understanding the role of soil ecology in environmental research, the scientific community needs to quantify a wide variety of soil characteristics which have implications to broader scientific discoveries. Grant applications are sought for technology innovation to improve the temporal and spatial resolution of soil properties including, but not limited to: temperature, moisture, pH, redox potential, microbial activity, oxygen availability, biogeochemical cycling, and chemical-nutrient properties. Sensors should provide a significant improvement over existing technology and be minimally invasive during installation and-or data acquisition. Sensor technology should require minimal power to operate, be rugged enough to be applied in various environmental conditions. Special consideration is given to technologies that could employ wireless or that achieve multiple soil characteristics simultaneously.
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